LSU (10-20 overall, 2-16 in SEC) vs. Mississippi State (15-15 overall, 6-12 in SEC)
WHEN: Wednesday, March 8 at 6 p.m. CT
WHERE: Bridgestone Arena (Nashville, Tenn.)
TV/RADIO: SEC Network | LSU Sports Radio Network
SERIES: LSU leads 109-100
LAST MEETING: LSU dropped its regular season finale on Saturday to State 88-76
LSU got back on track last Thursday with a win over Tennessee to close out its home SEC schedule, but when the Tigers took a trip to Starkville, they couldn't maintain that momentum. While LSU had five players in double digits and Skylar Mays and Antonio Blakeney each tallied 15 points, LSU shot just 5-for-19 from beyond the arc. It wasn't an incredible day at all shooting-wise and LSU will have to improve to have a shot in Nashville. Johnny Jones is reportedly on his way out as head coach of LSU after the SEC Tournament. Can this team delay the inevitable?
Scouting Mississippi State
The Bulldogs' win over LSU on Saturday snapped a seven-game losing streak and Ben Howland's squad did so by doing exactly the opposite that it did in Baton Rouge earlier this season. Instead of knocking down shots from beyond the arc, the Bulldogs went inside to the tune of 52 points in the paint and outrebounded LSU 39-32. The difference was State's 20 second chance points the team tallied. I.J. Ready tallied an SEC-high 13 assists on the afternoon.
Key Bulldogs to Watch
G Quinndary Weatherspoon: On Saturday, Weatherspoon led the Bulldogs with 18 points. Weatherspoon was able to get just about whatever shot he wanted, going 8-for-11 from the field.
F Aric Holman: The 6-10 sophomore was one of two Bulldogs with 14 points, trailing Weatherspoon for a team high. In just 19 minutes, Holman racked up his points on 6-for-12 from the field including 0-for-3 from beyond the arc.
Projected Mississippi State Starters:
G Mario Kegler
G Quinndary Weatherspoon
G I.J. Ready
F Aric Holman
F Schnider Herard
Projected LSU Starters:
G Skylar Mays
G Antonio Blakeney
G Brandon Sampson
F Duop Reath
F Aaron Epps
Matchup to Watch
Duop Reath vs. Aric Holman: Once again, Holman and Reath will do battle in the paint. Holman had 14 points and six rebounds while Reath notched a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. It's tough to say exactly who got the better of one another, but it's a key matchup in the game. Reath also spent time guarding big man Schnider Herard and kept him in-check, but still Reath has to step up defensively to limit the Bulldog's production in the paint.
Keys to the Game
LSU has now lost twice to Mississippi State in two very different ways. The Tigers now have a chance to hit the reset button and probably not saving Johnny Jones' job, but go on a run in the SEC Tournament. Will that happen? Probably not, but the Tigers have to lock in and can beat Mississippi State with focus and defending.