The book on the Bayou Bengals has been fairly simple through 11 league games. They roar at home but whimper on the road, mustering only one win, against SEC cellar dweller South Carolina, away from the PMAC.
All that prompted freshman Jordan Mickey to say the following yesterday: "We're not there yet as a team. We've got to try to get some road games together. It doesn't mean anything if you can win at home and then you go on the road and lose. You've got to be able to do a little bit of both. We've just got to keep working."
Considering LSU will need a minimum of five wins over their remaining seven conference contests to even sniff NCAA Tournament discussions, the question begs -- Is there enough time left for this LSU team to turn things around?
I asked that exact question to the Tigers' three frontcourt players (Mickey, Jarell Martin and Johnny O'Bryant) as well as to coach Johnny Jones.
Here were their responses along with some other prescriptions for what ails this Tiger team that struggles so mightily on the road.
"There are seven games left in the season. You're either going to make it happen or you're not. That's a question for us. We're either going to step up or not. Our mindset going into practice is to get better today. We're going to Arkansas, and Arkansas is a good team at home. But if we play the defense that we played earlier in the year and we talk, I definitely think we can go in there and get that win. If not, it's going to be a tough night."
"We've got to learn to finish games. Just finish games. I definitely think that when we're at home we do a great job of finishing games, but when you're on the road and the crowd is against you and teams just seem to fill it and score the ball better, we've got to do a better job of buckling down and playing better defense on the road."
"No, we're not getting antsy or anything. We know we're a good team. We just have to continue to improve in areas and see how it all unfolds."
"I feel like we have time. There's plenty of time to go out and compete better and go on our run. We've just got to play every game the same – with a killer instinct and wanting to come out on top with the victory."
"Well, with each game that passes, that's another opportunity behind us. To be a good road team and get wins, you have to be a really good basketball team. That's what we are striving for. We think that we've made some positive strides, but we haven't gotten to the area yet away from home playing at that level that you have to be able to raise your level. Teams are going to play well at home. Texas A&M hadn't shot the ball well. They were shooting about 39 percent, averaging I think 59 points a game. They got 83 against us at home because they are in their comfort zone."
"We are who we are. We are a man team on the defensive end at times. We have implemented some zone that we have started playing because it helps with our matchups and allows us to put certain people out on the floor that we can have defend a certain way and have those guys on the offensive end of the floor as well. There is not a whole lot that we can change outside of attitude, mentality and understanding of the sense of urgency that you have to play with every second of every play. We have to be locked in that way. That's the area we really have to work on. We have been there at times. We have done a good job but you have to be that way throughout – not just as an individual but as a team. When we get that way as a team night in and night out we will be better. That's a process, unfortunately for us, we haven't been there on a consistent basis."