Brady, Tigers ready for exhibition tonight

The LSU men's basketball team begins final preparations for the 2004-05 season with the first of two exhibition games Tuesday night at the Maravich Center against EA Sports. <br><br> The Tigers and EA Sports meet at 7 p.m. and tickets for the game priced at $5 will be on sale at the upper concourse ticket windows of the Maravich Center beginning 90 minutes prior to tipoff.

LSU, receiving votes in Monday's pre-season Associated Press media poll, will be close to full strength for the contest although the amount SEC Freshman of the Year Brandon Bass plays remains somewhat unknown. He was able to participate in LSU's 36-minute scrimmage on Saturday, but his minutes may be limited or he may miss the game completely to make sure he is ready down the road after minor knee surgery on Oct. 1.

The only player definitely out of the contest is Tyrus Thomas, the freshman from McKinley High in Baton Rouge, who has a bulging disc in his neck that is causing him problems.

EA Sports was 0-2 on its exhibition tour going into Monday's night game at Virginia Tech. losing 71-59 to Kansas State and 69-62 at Providence. Mark Green had a team high 19 for the former collegiate players against Providence, while in two games, Daniel Watts of Nevada is averaging 14.5 points with 13 against Kansas State as the only EA player in double figures and 16 points and 13 rebounds against Providence.

Although the sponsorship of the team has changed, this will mark the sixth straight season LSU has opened exhibition play against a team coached by Maury Hanks. LSU leads the series, 3-2, although the opponents have beaten LSU the last two years in the exhibition opener, 78-69, in 2002 and 68-64 in 2003.

"The structure of this exhibition team, although with different players each year, makes it one of the better ones that we could play in the country," said LSU Coach John Brady.

LSU is 11-3 in 14 exhibition contests under Coach Brady who enters his eighth season as the head coach at LSU, equaling the third longest coaching tenure in the 97-year history of the men's basketball program.

"The main thing we will look for on Tuesday is to get the things we have worked on in practice into the game," said Coach Brady. "We accomplished a number of things in practice and we hope that they show up in the game. Sometimes when players come out for the first time they are looking to perform and not play."

A starting lineup was still to be determined for the game, but expect to see a lot of Xavier Whipple, Darrel Mitchell, Antonio Hudson and Tack Minor at the guard positions and Glen Davis, Darnell Lazare, Ross Neltner and Regis Koundjia at the forward positions.

The Tigers will play its second and final exhibition game on Monday, Nov. 15 against the Houston Sports Group with the regular season opener set for Friday, Nov. 19 in the nightcap of the LSU Louisiana Classic first round doubleheader against Tulane at 8 p.m.

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