PREVIEW: LSU vs. Mississippi State

LSU basketball has the chance to draw back to .500 in the SEC for the first time in the 2012-13 season with Mississippi State in town Saturday. Come inside with TSD for a game preview.

It was exactly this time last year that Trent Johnson's Tigers were making their way from 2-5 in league play to 7-6.

Now, in 2012-13, Johnny Jones' Tigers have a chance to mirror that run.

Once at 2-5, this LSU team is now 5-6 in the SEC (14-8 overall) with conference cellar dweller Mississippi State (7-16, 2-9) coming to the PMAC Saturday afternoon. Tip-off is at 4 p.m., and ESPNU will have the television broadcast.

Here are the projected starting lineups for this afternoon's contest.

LSU (14-8, 5-6)
G Anthony Hickey (So., 5-11, 178) – 11.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.8 apg, 3.4 spg
G Andre Stringer (Jr., 5-10, 182) – 10.7 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 2.0 apg
G Malik Morgan (Fr., 6-4, 188) – 5.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.5 spg
F Johnny O'Bryant (So., 6-9, 258) – 13.2 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 48.2% FGs
C Andrew Del Piero (Sr., 7-3, 254) – 4.0 ppg, 3.0 ppg, 1.1 bpg

Key Rotational Players: G Charles Carmouche (Sr., 6-4, 187; averages 8.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.8 apg and 2.1 spg) and F Shavon Coleman (Jr., 6-5, 195; averages 11.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.4 spg)

Mississippi State (7-16, 2-9)
G Trivante Bloodman (So., 6-0, 182) – 6.2 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.7 apg
G Craig Sword (Fr., 6-3, 189) – 9.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.7 spg
G Fred Thomas (Fr., 6-5, 191) – 10.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.7 spg
F Colin Borchert (Jr., 6-8, 231) – 7.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.4 apg
F Gavin Ware (Fr., 6-9, 270) – 8.9 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 55.1% FGs

Key Rotational Player: F Roquez Johnson (So., 6-7, 210; averages 8.9 ppg and 4.5 rpg)

The Tigers' quest to even their SEC record at .500 comes against about as favorable an opponent as purple-and-gold fans could've scripted.

State, also under a first-year coach in Rick Ray, is struggling mightily. After winning their first two games in conference play, the Bulldogs have lost nine straight.

The most recent setback was the most embarrassing, with MSU dropping a 78-36 decision at home to Missouri. In that game the Bulldogs scored just 10 points in the first half.

Making matters worse, one of the team's leading players – guard Jalen Steele – was suspended indefinitely Feb. 9 for a violation of team rules.

LSU enters the ballgame with a full complement of players, with only senior forward Eddie Ludwig out, as the Metairie native has been for the last 13 games.

The Tigers' leading scorer and rebounder, Johnny O'Bryant, is also playing with a world of confidence coming off a career-high 30 points at South Carolina on Thursday night.

TSD will be live at the PMAC with coverage of the game. Come back around 3:30 for pregame updates and official starting lineups.

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