CHALK TALK: No. 23 Virginia at LSU

Tigers get their final test before SEC play begins next weekend, and it's a tough one at home.



LSU (10-3)

Projected starters

G Anthony Hickey 5-11, 182, Fr. (8.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 4.1 apg)

G Ralston Turner 6-6, 205, So. (10.5 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 25-65 3pt. FG)

G Eddie Ludwig 6-9, 210, Jr. (2.8 ppg, 2.7 rpg)

F Johnny O’Bryant 6-9, 262, Fr. (8.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg)

C Justin Hamilton 7-0, 260, Jr. (11.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 41-52 FT)

Key reserves

F Storm Warren 6-7, 230, Sr. (8.5 ppg, 5 rpg, 19 steals)

F Malcolm White 6-9, 220, Sr. (4.5 ppg, 2.3 rpg)

G Chris Bass 6-1, 180, Sr. (2 ppg. 20 assists, 13 steals)

Coach: Trent Johnson (59-52, fourth season; 218-173, 13th season)


Virginia (12-1)

Projected starters

G Jontel Evans 5-11, 188, Jr. (6.7 ppg, 3.2 apg)

G Joe Harris 6-6, 211, So. (12.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg)

G Sammy Zegliniski 6-1, 184, Sr. (8.6 ppg, 3 apg)

C Assane Sene 7-0, 239, Sr. (5.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg)

F Mike Scott 6-8, 237, Sr. (17.1 ppg, 9.6 rpg)

Key reserves

G Malcolm Brogdon 6-5, 215, Fr. (7.2 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 25-31 FT)

F Darion Atkins 6-8, 222, Fr. (3.7 ppg, 2.9 rpg)

F Akili Mitchell 6-8, 234, So. (3.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg)

Coach: Tony Bennett (43-32, third season; 112-65, sixth season)  

Up next

LSU jumps into the 2012 SEC season when Ole Miss visits the PMAC for a 12:30 p.m. game on Saturday.


Of note

  • LSU and Virginia are meeting for the only the third time, but the second year in a row. The Cavaliers claimed the first two games, winning 64-50 last season in Charlottesville and 78-74 in the 1982 NCAA Final Four third-place game.
  • Bennett’s wife, Laurel, is a Baton Rouge native and LSU graduate. That led to Bennett being tagged as a leading candidate for the Tigers’ job in 2008 when John Brady was fired.
  • The Tigers’ 10 victories before the New Year are their most since they got off to an 11-1 start in Johnson’s first season on the way to an SEC Championship. That team tumbled to 11-3 after losses to Utah and Alabama.
  • Andre Stringer is not expected to play against Virginia, which would be his fifth game in a row missed since fainting in a practice prior to LSU’s victory against Boise State. He has resumed some level of practice, but Johnson said he needs to catch up conditioning-wise before stepping back on the field.
  • The Cavaliers are off to their best start since 1982-83 and have won 10 straight games for the first time since 2000-01.
  • Both teams are keyed by defense. LSU has limited its last seven foes to 59 points or fewer, a first since 1953. The Tigers are 30-4 in Johnson’s four seasons when holding foes under 60. Virginia is allowing only 50.4 points a game and has held seven opponents to 50 or fewer this season.
  • UVa is 22-2 under Bennett when scoring 70 points or more.
  • Cavaliers’ forward Mike Scott has recorded five double-doubles this season and 29 in his career, which leads active ACC players.
  • Two Virginia players requested transfers right before Christmas: Guard K.T. Harrell and forward James Johnson. Harrell had made five starts and was producing 4.7 points a game.

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