PREVIEW: LSU at Texas A&M

The Tigers will take on Texas A&M in College Station Tuesday night, contesting a game with plenty of meaning for two teams on the bubble. Get ready with projected starting lineups, chalk talk and the latest chatter from the LSU side.

For LSU (18-7, 7-5) Tuesday night in College Station is about as important as they come.

The Tigers and Texas A&M (17-7, 8-4) will square off in a contest with postseason implications for both sides. LSU is seeking its fifth road win in conference play and retribution for a 67-64 home loss to the Aggies on Jan. 17 while Billy Kennedy’s crew is gunning for its ninth win in 11 games.

Tipoff in Reed Arena is set for 8 p.m. Central Time. Dave Neal and Darrin Horn will have the call on the SEC Network.

A&M comes in tied (with Ole Miss) for third in the SEC, a game ahead of LSU, tied (with Georgia) for fifth. Both teams enter the week with an RPI ranking between 40 and 50, meaning neither has safely secured a place in the NCAA Tournament and there’s plenty on the line with precious few league tilts remaining.

The maroon and white were riding a six-game winning streak until dropping a 69-59 decision in Oxford on Feb. 4. Then came bookend wins at Missouri and versus Florida with a 62-53 loss to Georgia sandwiched in between.

The Bayou Bengals are playing arguably their best ball of the season, responding to consecutive losses to Mississippi State and Auburn by thumping Alabama, nearly toppling undefeated Kentucky and, most recently, steamrolling Tennessee in Knoxville.

Get ready for tonight’s game with projected starters and stats as well as a detailed look inside the matchups and quotes from LSU coach Johnny Jones on the Vols.

PROJECTED STARTERS

LSU (18-7, 7-5)

G Tim Quarterman (So., 6-6, 187) – 11.9 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 3.4 apg
G Jalyn Patterson (Fr., 6-0, 173) – 5.6 ppg, 1.9 apg, 1.1 spg
G Keith Hornsby (Jr., 6-4, 210) – 12.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.2 apg
F Jarell Martin (So., 6-10, 235) – 15.9 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 2.0 apg
F Jordan Mickey (So., 6-8, 235) – 17.1 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 3.8 bpg

Impact Reserve: G Josh Gray (Jr., 6-1, 182) – 8.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 4.2 apg

Texas A&M (17-7, 8-4)

G Alex Caruso (Jr., 6-5, 184) – 9.6 rpg, 4.7 rpg, 5.8 apg
G Jordan Green (Sr., 6-5, 188) – 5.4 rpg, 1.6 rpg, 1.8 apg
G Danuel House (Jr., 6-7, 195) – 14.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.1 apg
G/F Jalen Jones (Jr., 6-7, 223) – 13.7 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 47.8% FGs
F Kourtney Roberson (Sr., 6-9, 247) – 8.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 62.7% FGs

Impact Reserve: G Alex Robinson (Fr., 6-1, 174) – 4.0 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.6 apg

TALK OF CHALK

- First Time Around, Part 1: When last these two teams met in the PMAC, Texas A&M edged LSU in the battle of the boards 41-40. The way the Tigers have rebounded this season (currently sixth in the nation), that’s no small feat. The Aggies had 16 offensive rebounds, four from Roberson, a native of Arcadia. At his Monday press conference, Jones hadn’t forgotten . . . “We are making sure we are releasing in the right spots to help rebounding. They out-rebounded us, and I think they had some key offensive rebounds against us when Jordan was rotating over trying to block shots and some put backs in that game as well. We have to do a better job” . . . Shot selection is important, but Martin and Quarterman and Brian Bridgewater in relief will have to help Mickey on the glass in a game like this to prevent second-chances for A&M, which wants to squeeze life and tempo from the game.

- First Time Around, Part 2: Another relevant topic from the first LSU-A&M meeting was how difficult it was for the Tigers to contain transfer wings House and Jones. Both players notched 18 points. They took a combined 33 of the Aggies’ 65 shots (50.8%). And they also went a combined 8-of-9 from the charity stripe when Texas A&M as a team attempted only 11 freebies. Kennedy’s squad does have a number of good distributors, led by Caruso, but the only consistent finishers are House and Jones. Considering both have good height and size on the perimeter, look for Quarterman and Hornsby to shoulder much of the defensive load with Martin and Mickey occasionally helping and hedging out to thwart drives. The Tigers can live with Roberson having a day inside, but if House and Jones get in a rhythm, it’ll be an uphill climb for LSU away from home.

WHAT LSU’S SAYING

“I think primarily both teams will stick to the things that they do and their philosophy and the things that they trust in. I think there will certainly be some wrinkles. The body of what people will do offensively and defensively will certainly be the same. I think it’s just a matter of being able to execute, be it on the offensive end of the floor making your plays or defensively with what you are doing against your opponent.”
- Johnny Jones on time two versus the Aggies

“It’s probably going to have to be by committee for us. Both of those guys are good offensive players, and both of them are skilled. More so, both of them are really experienced. They count on them, and they go to them a lot. Both of them play with a great deal of confidence. We’re going to have to certainly send several bodies at them and give them different looks defensively. Hopefully, they don’t get into a comfortable rhythm against us.”
- Jones on guarding A&M’s House and Jones

“We definitely know how important it is to close out games and we definitely want to make the tournament. So before we went into the Tennessee game, it was like we needed to go 7-0. We went into that game with the right approach.”
- Martin on the team’s urgency





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