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
TALK OF CHALK
- 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.
WHAT LSU’S SAYING
- 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 ($)