LSU: Big Team Presents Big Problems For AU

Auburn, at 9-8 overall and 1-5 in the SEC, travel to Baton Rouge to battle LSU, who is 14-5 overall, 6-0 in the SEC and playing solid basketball.

Auburn, Ala.--In what may be the toughest SEC game of the season for Auburn, the young Tigers head to Baton Rouge to face an LSU team that presents match-up problems to nearly every team it faces.

With three players down low with NBA potential--Glen "Big Baby" Davis, Tyrus Thomas and Tasmin Mitchell--Auburn freshmen forwards Josh Dollard, Korvotney Barber and Joey Cameron are certain to have their hands full.

"It's going to be a tough game," Dollard says. "We know coming in that we're undersized. They have a lot of size with Glen Davis, Tyrus Thomas and a couple of others guys. We're going to come in there and try to hustle."

The Tigers will need Dollard to score some points and play physical on the defensive end.

LSU comes in at 14-5 overall and stands tall as the only undefeated team in SEC play. All five of the Fighting Tigers' losses came by four points or less, three of those against current Top 25 teams--Northern Iowa, Ohio State and Connecticut.

LSU is ranked 24th in AP Poll and is not ranked in the coaches' poll, but figure to be a team to watch when March Madness comes around.

"They probably should be much higher than that in the poll," Lebo says. "We're going to see an unbelievably talented and unbelievably gifted rebounding team--a team that's got great size and athleticism. Anybody who can go in with UConn's big guys, NBA players, and really dominate them on the inside, you just don't see that too often."

Davis, at 6-9 and 310 pounds, gave Auburn problems in three games last season and averages 17.7 points per game and 8.8 rebounds, second on the team in both categories. Thomas, who Lebo says may be NBA ready as just a freshman, redshirted last season because of neck injury but leads the league in rebounding at 9.6 per game while adding 13.5 points.

"I think the guy that has really taken the league by storm is Tyrus Thomas that a lot of people didn't know about," Lebo says. "He's an incredible athlete."

While Thomas is more of an athletic post player, Tasmin Mitchell, a true freshman, is more of a bruiser down low at 6-7, 230. However, the player who keeps the engine churning for the Tigers is guard Darrel Mitchell. He's a sure shooter and averages 17.9 per contest.

"They're playing really well right now," Lebo says. "Mitchell is their senior that's really making them go and he's making their perimeter shots. You've really got to pick your poison with them. You hope you can defend him and make other guys beat you from the outside. That's a lot easier to say than actually get it done."

Tasmin Mitchell

Rounding out the starting line up for LSU is guard Garrett Temple, the younger brother of Collis Temple III and son of Collis Temple, the first black athlete to play basketball at LSU.

The only bench player for the Tigers with any significant impact is forward Darnel Lazare, a forward who average 7.4 points and 3.9 boards.

Tip off is set for 7 p.m. CST on Wednesday at the Maravich Assembly Center. There is no television coverage scheduled.

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