PREVIEW: LSU vs. Auburn

LSU will host Bruce Pearl and Auburn tonight in the first of three consecutive home games for the Bayou Bengals. Preview the matchup with TSD, from projected starting lineups to chalk talk to what LSU's saying about tonight's game.

It’ll be a battle of the Tigers in the PMAC Thursday night as LSU (16-5, 5-3) and Auburn (10-11, 2-6) contest the SEC’s final midweek game.

Tipoff in set for 6 p.m. and ESPN2 will have the live television broadcast with Joe Tessitore and Sean Farnham on the call.

Bruce Pearl will coach his first game in the House that Pete Built since Feb. 4, 2010, when he was leading Tennessee’s program.

His current Auburn team is experiencing expected growing pains in year one of the regime, losers of four in a row and six of eight since SEC play began. Aubie’s last two road losses – at Tennessee and Alabama – were close, however, decided by an average of five points.

The Bayou Bengals are entering a three-game home-stand that continues Saturday with Alabama and culminates Tuesday night versus undefeated Kentucky, the nation’s top-ranked team.

But the task at hand for LSU is getting back in the win column after a deflating loss in Starkville Saturday.

The Tigers are expected to have the services of leading scorer and rebounder Jordan Mickey, who turned his right ankle in the second half against Mississippi State, as well as freshman Jalyn Patterson, who missed the last two games after reportedly suffering a concussion at Vanderbilt on Jan. 24.

Get ready for the game with projected starters and stats, matchup and personnel talk as well as quotes from LSU coach Johnny Jones on Pearl’s squad.


LSU (16-5, 5-3)

PG Josh Gray (Jr., 6-1, 183) – 9.1 ppg, 4.6 apg, 1.4 spg
G Keith Hornsby (Jr., 6-4, 210) – 12.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.4 spg
F Jarell Martin (So., 6-10, 235) – 16.0 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 2.0 apg
F Jordan Mickey (So., 6-8, 235) – 16.4 ppg, 10.9 rpg, 3.7 bpg
C Darcy Malone (So., 7-0, 245) – 1.5 ppg, 1.2 rpg, 50.0% FGs

Impact Reserve: G Tim Quarterman (So., 6-6, 187) – 11.9 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 3.3 apg

Auburn (10-11, 2-6)

G Tahj Shamsid-Deen (So., 5-9, 170) – 6.1 ppg, 1.1 rpg, 1.4 apg
G Antoine Mason (Sr., 6-1, 216) – 14.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.3 apg
G K.T. Harrell (Sr., 6-4, 212) – 17.0 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 46.1% FGs
F Jordan Granger (Jr., 6-8, 210) – 5.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 49.3% FGs
F Cinmeon Bowers (Jr., 6-7, 278) – 13.5 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 49.6% FTs

Impact Reserve: F K.C. Ross-Miller (Sr., 6-1, 178) – 5.9 ppg, 2.2 apg, 2.0 spg


- Here’s a factoid about this game that’s strong to quite strong: It features the SEC’s only two players averaging a double-double for the season. And LSU’s Mickey and Auburn’s Bowers figure to see plenty of one another in the PMAC. Auburn as a team doesn’t rebound terribly well, averaging just 32.6 boards a game (267th in NCAA). But Bowers, a JuCo transfer, has been a bull inside, averaging 4.2 offensive rebounds a game and hitting the 17-board mark on three separate occasions already this season. Look for Jones & Co. to give some help to Mickey when battling Bowers on the glass. Players like Malone and possibly John Odo or Elbert Robinson could be more important tonight than usual.

- I’d bet anything Martin and Quarterman have redemption on their minds tonight. Quarterman was apparently sick during the State loss, per his head coach, so if anything he’ll be in a better place back at home and almost a week distanced from that sickness. But Martin really has a track record of bouncing back strong after poor showings, particularly in front of the home crowd. Look for the sophomore from Baton Rouge to attack the rim early tonight, and it’s my expectation Jones will encourage that, making Martin an early part of the offensive game plan to get him back going after a brutal four-point, foul-plagued showing on Saturday.


“The conference season is extremely tough as you know. You can look around the league. Being on the road five out of eight games is difficult in this conference, especially to start. We understand the 18-game schedule. Being at home, you want to make sure you do a great advantage of trying to make sure you take care of your home games because the road is difficult. We’ve had some success out there, more so this year than we did last year in this early part of the season. We know how important home games are.”
- Johnny Jones on importance of home-stand

“In preparation going into (the three games), we want to be mindful in terms of our practice and in terms of our load. It won’t determine any way how we will play. We will certainly play the same way because each game will have a life of its own. We will do everything that we possibly can to make sure that we are successful there. But it’s prior to (these games), the practices the day before and the day after and in between those games are where we have to be smart as coaches.”
- Jones how to handle three games in six days

“I got to see and appreciate Bruce (Pearl) more during his time at Tennessee. Having a chance to watch him from before, I thought he did a tremendous job of coaching, creating the atmosphere and environment that he did at Tennessee and the success they had in the program. It’s obvious from his bio that he had success in other places that he’s been. He’s created that same type of energy there at Auburn. During his down time, I had the opportunity to watch him as an analyst and thought he did a great job there in talking about basketball and the passion he has for this game. He’s good for the game, and I am excited that he is back in the league.”
- Jones on having Bruce Pearl back in the SEC

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