Below is a preview of this afternoon's game, released by LSU, as well as my projected starting lineups with measurables and statistics.
The LSU Tigers try to wrap up their three-game road trip in a difficult location here Saturday when they face Marquette at 1 p.m. on ESPNU at the Bradley Center in the first game of a day-night college basketball/NBA doubleheader in the building.
LSU, 7-1, is coming off a 66-60 win in the second game of the road trip on Tuesday, while Marquette fell to 7-3 with a 49-47 loss in the Golden Eagles first ever visit to Green Bay on Wednesday night.
Besides the national television coverage, the game will be broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network (Eagle 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge) and in the Geaux Zone at LSUsports.net.
LSU began its road trip on Thursday, Dec. 13 for a Dec. 14 game at Boise which the Broncs won, 89-70. The Tigers then traveled to Irvine, Calif., on Dec. 15 before playing the game on Dec. 18. The team returned home after an all-day flight on Dec. 19 and took to the air on a charter flight Friday morning for the final game of this road trip, arriving to the leftover snow from Thursday's storm mid-Friday afternoon.
This marks the third time LSU and the Golden Eagles have played in this the back half of a home-and-home set that began last year in 2011 in Baton Rouge when LSU won 67-59 when Marquette was ranked 10th in the country. The leader scorers for both teams in that game are no longer playing for their respective squads for an LSU team that went to the NIT and a Marquette team under coach Buzz Williams that went to the NCAA Sweet 16.
In the only other meeting, MU won a battle, 101-79, in 1970 in the semifinals of the NIT at Madison Square Garden.
Andre Stringer led LSU in the Irvine win with 19 points, while Shavon Coleman had his third double double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, while Johnny O'Bryant III had nine points and a career high 13 rebounds.
Junior forward Jamil Wilson led the way offensively with 16 points at Green Bay, making 6-of-10 from the floor on a night when Marquette shot from 38 percent from the floor.
But in returning to the 18,000-seat Bradley Center, Marquette returns to the court where the Golden Eagles have a present 14-game winning streak.
Guard Todd Mayo, a 6-3, sophomore has not played this season after being academically ineligible for the fall semester, but he is expected to be in uniform for Marquette Saturday.
LSU sophomore guard Anthony Hickey played more minutes at Irvine in his second game back from his week-long suspension and he scored 10 points in the contest. Coach Johnny Jones emphasized in his media session on Thursday that the Kentucky native must continue to work hard to regain his spot as a starter at point guard.
For now, it appears that LSU will go with Corban Collins, Andre Stringer and Charles Carmouche at guards with Johnny O'Bryant III at forward and Andrew Del Piero at center.
Of Marquette, Jones said: "I think (Marquette) is a very good basketball program. Anytime you go on the road, it's always a challenge for you like it was last year for them being a top-10 team. I think this year being back at their place will obviously be a huge challenge for us. They are a very balanced basketball team in terms of their guard play. They are a very physical basketball team inside. That will be a huge challenge for us, how will we combat them and deal with their inside play because of the depth that they have there. They also have experience at the guard spot. But again, I think it will be another great challenge for our team prior to getting into conference play. You are talking about another real quality basketball team in Marquette. We are excited about it, and look forward to Saturday afternoon."
The Tigers will take a short break for the Christmas holiday following the Marquette contest and will return to practice on the evening of Dec. 26. LSU's next game is at home on Dec. 28 at 7 p.m. against Houston Baptist.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS
G Corban Collins (Fr., 6-3, 192) - 5.9 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 60.0% 3s
G Andre Stringer (Jr., 5-10, 182) - 11.3 ppg, 2.3 apg, 1.0 spg
G Charles Carmouche (Sr., 6-4, 187) - 8.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 3.0 apg
F Johnny O'Bryant (So., 6-9, 256) - 13.1 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 52.8 FG%
C Andrew Del Piero (Sr., 7-3, 254) - 4.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.6 bpg
G Junior Cadougan (Sr., 6-1, 205) - 8.1 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 4.7 apg
G Vander Blue (Jr., 6-4, 200) - 12.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 1.7 apg
G Trent Lockett (Sr., 6-5, 210) - 7.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.7 apg
F Juan Anderson (So., 6-6, 210) - 3.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.2 apg
C Chris Otule (Sr., 6-11, 275) - 5.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 63.9 FG%
*Previously suspended G Todd Mayo (So., 6-3, 190) will be available for today's game as well.
**Marquette's second and third leading scorers on the season come off the bench. Junior F Davante Gardner (6-8, 290) averages 12.1 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. Junior F Jamil Wilson (6-7, 225) averages 9.7 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.
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