In the Tigers' first road game, the season opener at UMass, Johnny Jones' troops fell 92-90 to a Minutemen bunch currently ranked second nationwide in RPI. The challenge doesn't figure to be as stiff with the Red Raiders, 124th in RPI (LSU by comparison is 39th), but any venture away from home is a test for a team featuring two freshmen starters.
Texas Tech enters the contest 6-0 at home in United Spirit Arena, although TTU hasn't faced much in the way of competition there. The home slate has included Houston Baptist, Texas Southern and South Dakota State.
Under first-year head coach Tubby Smith, a man who came very close to being LSU's lead man before negotiations broke down and Tiger brass ultimately decided on Jones in April 2012, the Red Raiders have lost at Alabama (76-64), at No. 2 Arizona (79-58) and against Pitt (76-53) in the first of two games the team played in Brooklyn at the Progressive Legends Classic.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS
G Anthony Hickey (5-11, 182, Jr.) – 9.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 4.0 apg
G Andre Stringer (5-10, 190, Sr.) – 13.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 82.4% FTs
F Jarell Martin (6-9, 241, Fr.) – 7.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 43.2% FGs
F Jordan Mickey (6-8, 220, Fr.) – 14.8 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 3.9 bpg
F Johnny O'Bryant (6-9, 256, Jr.) – 14.9 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 53.3% FGs
Texas Tech (7-3)
G Robert Turner (6-3, 180, Jr.) – 10.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.6 apg
G Dusty Hannahs (6-4, 210, So.) – 7.4 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 86.4% FTs
F Jaye Crockett (6-7, 210, Sr.) – 13.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.2 spg
F Jordan Tolbert (6-7, 225, Jr.) – 12.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.0 bpg
F Kader Tapsoba (6-10, 225, Sr.) – 2.5 ppg, 1.2 rpg, 1.0 bpg
In terms of size Texas Tech matches up fairly well with LSU. TTU's two leading scorers and rebounders – Jaye Crockett and Jordan Tolbert – both stand 6-foot-7, with Crockett weighing 210 pounds and Tolbert 225 pounds. The Tigers are likely to bring Jarell Martin back to the starting lineup, in place of Shavon Coleman, to deal with the length of Crockett.
On the perimeter Robert Turner and Dusty Hannahs are not prolific scorers, but, at 6-foot-3 and 6-foot-4, respectively, they may require Jones to turn to Coleman, Malik Morgan and Tim Quarterman for spurts to deal with the height those two possess, particularly when LSU's on the defensive end.
TTU has legitimate depth, with 10 players averaging at least 12.6 minutes a ballgame. The three leading producers off the bench: on the wing, Toddrick Gotcher (6-4, 195, So.); inside, Aaron Ross (6-8, 225, Fr.) and Dejan Kravic (7-0, 235, Sr.). Another reserve for the Red Raiders is former LSU recruiting target Randy Onwuasor, a 6-foot-3 freshman from Inglewood, Ca., who's averaging 4.1 points and 1.4 assists through 10 games.
Statistically this Texas Tech team struggles in most offensive categories, including scoring (73.6 ppg, 173rd nationwide), rebounding (34.3 rpg, 238th) and assists (12.5 apg, 209th). Smith's squad does however shoot a quality percentage from the field at 48.3 percent.
For the sake of comparison, LSU averages 78.8 ppg (65th), 44.4 rpg (seventh) and 14.9 apg (68th). The Tigers shoot 46.3 percent from the field as a team.
LSU comes into tonight's contest a relatively healthy team, too, with only Martin still dealing with the lingering effects of a high ankle sprain he suffered in the team's opener in Amherst. After this road trip, the Tigers will return to the PMAC for three straight non-conference games – UAB, McNeese State, Rhode Island – before opening up SEC play at home against Tennessee on Jan. 7.
Discuss LSU's game at Texas Tech tonight
And click on the link below to read a preview of tonight's game from Jarret Johnson of RaiderPower.com.
Game Preview: Texas Tech side