PREVIEW: LSU vs. Florida

LSU will host the Florida Gators, short-handed and sub-.500 in league play, Saturday in an early tipoff. Get ready for the game with TSD via projected starting lineups, chalk talk and the latest chatter from Tigers coach Johnny Jones.

Few would’ve predicted before this college basketball season the state of desperation for LSU (18-8, 7-6) and Florida (13-13, 6-7) by the time this game was staged in the PMAC.

But that’s the case as Billy Donovan’s crew, a program that’s been to the last four Elite Eights, is scrapping to make a postseason tournament on any level while the Tigers are clinging to fading hopes of making it to the Big Dance for the first time in six seasons.

Tipoff for LSU-Florida is set for Saturday at Noon Central Time, and CBS will carry the live television broadcast.

The Gators are coming off a 50-47 home win over Vanderbilt on Wednesday, a victory that halted a four-game slide for the blue-and-orange outfit.

The Bayou Bengals lost another close game in the midweek, falling at rising Texas A&M 68-62 after an inspiring three-game run that featured some of the team’s best basketball of the campaign.

These two squads met earlier this season, Jan. 20, in Gainesville, with LSU a surprise 79-61 winner inside the O’Dome.

Get ready for Saturday afternoon’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 Gators.


LSU (18-8, 7-6)

G Tim Quarterman (So., 6-6, 187) – 11.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 3.6 apg
G Jalyn Patterson (Fr., 6-0, 173) – 5.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.9 apg
G Keith Hornsby (Jr., 6-4, 210) – 12.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.3 apg
F Jarell Martin (So., 6-10, 235) – 15.8 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 50.0% FGs
F Jordan Mickey (So., 6-8, 235) – 16.7 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 3.8 bpg

Impact Reserve: G Josh Gray (Jr., 6-1, 182) – 8.1 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 4.2 apg

Florida (13-13, 6-7)

PG Kasey Hill (So., 6-1, 182) – 7.2 ppg, 4.5 apg, 36.4% FGs
G Eli Carter (Jr., 6-2, 200) – 8.6 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 37.2% FGs
F Alex Murphy (Jr., 6-10, 225) – 5.1 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 49.2% FGs
F Devin Robinson (Fr., 6-8, 178) – 5.9 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 38.9% FGs
F/C Jon Horford (Sr., 6-10, 245) – 6.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 46.6% FGs

Impact Reserve: F Chris Walker (So., 6-10, 220) – 5.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.3 bpg


- Junior forward Dorian Finney-Smith, Florida’s second leading scorer on the season at 12.9 points per game and leading rebounder at 5.8 rebounds per outing, was indefinitely suspended by Donovan on Wednesday for a violation of team rules. Making matters worse for the reptiles, junior shooter Michael Frazier II, UF’s leading scorer (13.2 ppg), is almost certainly out too. Frazier missed the Vanderbilt game with a high ankle sprain and is still coming back from the injury.

- What do the absences of Finney-Smith and Frazier mean? From an overall team perspective Florida is going to have to try to find points somewhere. The Gators don’t exactly light the world on fire scoring the ball with those two in tow (64.8 ppg, 242nd in the county). But without them consider that Florida’s five projected starters average a combined 32.9 points. That’s 0.4 points more than Martin and Mickey alone score for LSU in an average game. On an individual level Robinson reaps the most benefits from Finney-Smith being out. In general the Gators will go a little bigger with the current allotment of available players.


“I thought they did an excellent job (versus Vanderbilt) of maybe not having as much depth as they normally would, but I thought the guys who stepped in did an excellent job of making shots and making plays down the stretch for them throughout the game. I thought it was a tough game for them. For those guys to step up in crucial situations and make plays down the stretch to win the game right there at the end, it tells you the terms of their mental focus that they have on their team.”
- Johnny Jones on UF playing down two starters

“I think what happens is that we may have guys trying to maybe find some time on the floor because of the minutes that they are playing to maybe find some rest. That is dangerous because the caliber teams that we play. You cannot afford to do that because any time that you necessarily take a play off or not going as hard can cost you. That may be getting back defensively, it may be a block out and or going and getting a rebound out of the area. Any of those combinations of things can hurt you because it becomes a possession. Possessions are valuable to us, and it can cost us. I’m sure when guys are playing 36-37 minutes a game that there is obviously some of that out there especially at the pace that we play.”
- Jones on LSU players averaging heavy minutes

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