The game has been moved up 2 ½ hours to allow LSU fans the opportunity to see the basketball game and then get home in time for the kickoff of the Chick-Fil-A Bowl contest in Atlanta, Ga., between LSU and Georgia Tech.
LSU last played on New Year’s Eve in the 2005-06 season when they lost to Ohio State in Columbus, 78-76. The Tigers won at BYU-Hawaii on Dec. 31, 1986, 85-70 and beat TCU in the final game of the Fort Worth Collegiate Classic on Dec. 31, 1947, 52-46.
LSU is 10-1 on the season and will put two major winning streaks on the line in the game against the Cajuns. LSU has won 13 consecutive home games dating back to the final three home games of the 2007-08 season, tied for the seventh longest winning home winning streak in the 38-year history of the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
LSU will also again put the 20-plus year, 72-game winning streak against Louisiana schools in the Maravich Center on the line for the sixth time this season. The last two games have been difficult tests for LSU in beating Nicholls State 68-56 and McNeese State, 62-59, earlier this month.
Louisiana-Lafayette is 4-7 on the year after losing Monday night in Knoxville against the University of Tennessee, 89-62. Louisiana-Lafayette has been without its leading scorer, Travis Bureau, the last two games because of a groin injury, but regained Monday point guard Randell Daigle who had 16 points in his first game back.
“I guess I should start out by saying that Louisiana-Lafayette is probably as impressive of a team being 4-7 as you want to see,” said LSU Coach Trent Johnson. “They are very long, very athletic and have a very talented team. It’s just a matter of time before, in my opinion, they start hitting on all cylinders. I’ve been watching a lot of video tape. I was very impressed. Although they got beat, I was very impressed with how they matched up with Alabama. Like I said, this is a very impressive group.
“It’s been my experience with teams like this that sooner or later they are going to start hitting on all cylinders,” the first year LSU Coach said. “This reminds me quite frankly, if you look at this team on tape, it probably looks similar to the way (LSU) looked at times last year. They’ve got some high-caliber players. If we don’t come out with our same mental approach, don’t defend with a sense of urgency, don’t rebound the basketball, take care of it and don’t mature like I mentioned this to them before practice (Monday) … we will be in trouble.”
LSU is also battling injuries to two key starters, but it hasn’t cost them a lot of minutes in the last two games as point-guard Bo Spencer continues to battle a bruised left shoulder and shooting guard Marcus Thornton a sprained left toe.
Following the New Year’s Eve contest, the Tigers will play two more contests before beginning Southeastern Conference play. LSU hosts Southeastern Louisiana University on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Maravich Center before traveling to Salt Lake City for a Jan. 6 contest against the University of Utah. LSU opens league play on Sunday, Jan. 11 at 12:30 p.m. in Tuscaloosa at the University of Alabama.