The Tigers and Wolfpack will meet in Pittsburgh Thursday for the right to move on to the Round of 32. Get ready for the action with TSD's preview, including projected starters, chalk talk and what LSU has to say about its opponent.

PITTSBURGH – Almost three years after Johnny Jones was hired to take over at LSU, the Tigers take the program’s first NCAA Tournament plunge in six years Thursday night in the Steel City.

The opponent for the ninth-seeded Bayou Bengals (22-10, 11-7) is ACC foe NC State (20-13, 10-8), seeded eighth. Tipoff inside the home of the NHL’s Penguins, CONSOL Energy Arena, is set for 8:20 p.m. Central Time. TBS will have the live broadcast.

The winner of Thursday’s nightcap will likely take on Villanova, the No. 1 seed in the East Region.

Mark Gottfried’s Wolfpack enter the fray having won six of eight after a rough patch in the middle of conference play when NCSU lost five of six contests. They finished tied for sixth in the ACC.

Johnny Jones’ Tigers, tied for third in the SEC during the regular season, were one-and-done in the SEC Tournament in Nashville last week, falling to Auburn in overtime.

Get ready for tonight’s Big Dance showdown with projected starters and stats as well as a detailed look inside the matchups and quotes/videos from LSU players on NC State.


LSU (22-10, 11-7)

G Tim Quarterman (So., 6-6, 187) – 11.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 3.9 apg
G Jalyn Patterson (Fr., 6-0, 173) – 6.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.2 spg
G Keith Hornsby (Jr., 6-4, 210) – 13.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1.2 spg
F Jarell Martin (So., 6-10, 235) – 16.9 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 51.0% FGs
F Jordan Mickey (So., 6-8, 235) – 15.5 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 3.6 bpg

Impact Reserve: G Josh Gray (Jr., 6-1, 182) – 7.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 3.9 apg

NC State (20-13, 10-8)

G Anthony Barber (So., 6-2, 185) – 12.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.8 apg
G Trevor Lacey (Jr., 6-3, 210) – 15.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 3.4 apg
G Ralston Turner (Sr., 6-5, 205) – 13.2 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 40.2% FGs
F Abdul-Malik Abu (Fr., 6-8, 230) – 6.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 47.8% FGs
F Lennard Freeman (So., 6-8, 245) – 3.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 43.0% FGs

Impact Reserve: F BeeJay Anya (So., 6-9, 290) – 4.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.6 bpg


- ON THE PERIMETER: This is where the ‘Pack butters its bread offensively, as opposed to the Tigers who have two forward averaging over 15 points a game. It’s an oversimplification, but Turner is the spot-up shooter hovering around the perimeter, Barber has been the hottest of late and is a jitterbug constantly driving the lane, and Lacey is the guy NC State goes to when it needs a big bucket, a headache in isolation. I expect Patterson and Horsnby, who grew up playing against the younger Barber, will see the majority of “Cat” while Quarterman will have his hands full with Lacey, a physical player at 6-foot-3. The Tigers have hinted they’ll mix and match against NC State’s wings, but I wouldn’t imagine they’ll throw a ton of zone their way. Turner & Co. shoot 36.1% from three as a team this season.

- ON THE INTERIOR: Gottfried utilizes his post players to do the dirty work for the most part, and his forwards have been accepting of their roles and largely productive. Over the course of the season Abu, Anya, Freeman and Kyle Washington all average between 18.1 and 19.4 minutes per contest. They spread the load and against teams with good frontcourts they share the fouls. Freeman is a willing screener and offensive rebounder while Anya is a wide load that blocks shots at an even more prolific rate than Mickey (blocks per minutes played). LSU won’t need to double any of these guys, but it will be imperative to put multiple bodies on them when hitting the glass. The Tigers are one of the best rebounding teams in the country, but it’ll take a team effort on Thursday.


“We’ll have to be disciplined on the defensive side of the ball. We’ll have to be aggressive. There will also have to be a lot of talk with us helping each other out. I just feel like if we play for each other and have each other’s back, we’ll be okay.”
- Josh Gray on how LSU will defend a talented NCSU backcourt

“I know he’s been shooting it well the last 10 games and he’s been playing terrific. He’s a fast guard, an athlete that can attack and get in the lane. He’s a fast-paced point guard, so we’ll have to get back on defense and slow him down in transition.”
- Gray on the specific challenge of Cat Barber

“I think it’s going to be very important for our bigs to really play a part in this game. That’s all the people on our bench and all the people starting, we have to be physical and hit them first. I’m going to do as much as I can for the team to provide a body to sort of stop them from crashing the offensive glass and scoring easy baskets underneath.”
- Darcy Malone on possible bigger role given NCSU’s depth inside

Additional LSU Player Content
VIDEO: Hornsby leads LSU into new territory
VIDEO: Quarterman on challenge of NCAAs
VIDEO: Martin takes center stage in Pittsburgh
Healed twice over, Mickey ready to rebound
On the Bounce: Breaking Down the Pack ($)

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