LSU/MSU pre-game notes

The LSU men's basketball team is hotter than it has been all season, running off a pair of big conference wins before heading into Wednesday's showdown with Mississippi State.

LSU (14-3, 2-1) vs. Mississippi State (13-5, 3-0)

Jan. 21, 2009 7 p.m.

Pete Maravich Assembly Center – Baton Rouge, La.


LSU Projected Starters


G 5 Marcus Thornton (6-4, 205, Sr.) 17.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg

G 14 Garrett Temple (6-6, 190, Sr.) 7.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 4.0 apg

G 11 Bo Spencer (6-1, 185, So.) 12.2 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.6 apg

F 1 Tasmin Mitchell (6-7, 235, Jr.) 15.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg

C 21 Chris Johnson (6-11, 210, Sr.) 8.2 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 2.3 bpg


Key Reserves

G 13 Terry Martin (6-6, 210, Sr.) 4.7 ppg, 2.0 rpg and 1.0 apg

F 32 Quintin Thornton (6-9, 225, Sr.,) 3.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 0.8 apg

F 24 Storm Warren (6-7, 220, Fr.) 2.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 0.3 apg


Mississippi State Projected Starters


G 25 Phil Turner (6-3, 170, So.) 7.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg

G 3 Dee Bost (6-2, 170, Fr.) 10.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 4.7 apg

G 22 Barry Stewart (6-3, 170, Jr.) 10.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg

G 2 Ravern Johnson (6-7, 175, So.) 12.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg

C 32 Jarvis Varnado (6-9, 210, Jr.) 12.6 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 5.2 bpg


Key Reserves

F 24 Kodi Augustus (6-8, 220, Fr.) 6.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 0.5 apg

F 5 Romero Osby (6-8, 230, Fr.) 6.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 0.6 apg

C 45 Elgin Bailey (6-8, 265, So.) 5.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 0.3 apg


The LSU men's basketball team is hotter than it has been all season, running off a pair of big conference wins before heading into Wednesday's showdown with Mississippi State.


LSU enters the game at 14-3 overall and 2-1 in the Southeastern Conference after an 83-68 win over South Carolina at home and an 83-51 win over Ole Miss on the road last week.


The Bulldogs are one of the hottest teams in the league, having run off five straight wins to go to 13-5 on the year, as well as a 3-0 start in the SEC West.


The Tigers will put a 16-game home win streak on the line when the Bulldogs come to town. The streak, which dates back to last season, stands as the fourth longest win streak in the history of the Maravich Center.


Tasmin Mitchell led the charge for the Tigers in each of the last two games, netting totals of 30 and 17 points, respectively.


Marcus Thornton's 17.6 points per game stands as the most in the Tiger lineup, while Mitchell's 15.2 is good for second.


The big man in the middle for the Bulldogs remains Jarvis Varnado, often teamed with four guards under head coach Rick Stansbury's traditional lineup.


Varnado is averaging 12.6 points, 9.6 rebounds and 5.2 blocks per game. He is second in the conference in rebounding and leads the nation in blocked shots. Ravern Johnson is averaging 12.1 points per game, while Dee Bost is averaging 10.3 points and 4.7 assists per game.


The Bulldog offense is averaging 75.7 points per game, good for 7th in the SEC and 59th in the nation. While the Mississippi State defense is allowing 64.8 points per game, good for 5th in the SEC and 100th in the NCAA.


The Tigers 75.8 points per game puts them 6th in the SEC, and 57th in the country. The LSU defense has allowed 61.4 points per game, which is 2nd in the SEC and 42nd in the NCAA.


The Tigers have hit on 464-of-1,003 shots on the season (.463), while the Bulldogs have hit on 467-of-1,000 (.467), good for fifth and fourth best in the SEC, respectively.


The Tigers remain one of the hottest teams from behind the arc in the league, hitting on 98-of-254 (.386) shots for second in the conference. The Bulldogs have also been quick to knock down the long range bombs, hitting on 137-of-360 (.381) attempts, good for third in the SEC.


The LSU rebounding offense is good for 4th best in the conference, pulling down an average of 39.7 boards a game.


The Bulldogs trail just behind the Tigers, pulling down an average of 39.1 rebounds a game, for fifth best in the SEC.


The true disparity comes on the defensive end of the rebound battle, where the Tigers 540 rebounds are 2nd best in the SEC, while the Bulldogs 686 rebounds conceded a game ranks last in the conference.


That leaves the Tigers with the top ranked rebounding margin team in the SEC (+7.9), while the Bulldogs (+1.0) sit as the 11th best in the conference.


Mississippi State leads the SEC in blocked shots with 156, with the Tigers recording 105 blocks, good for third best in the conference.


The Bulldogs enter the game with an RPI and strength of schedule ranked 40th and 58th in the nation, respectively.


The Tigers' RPI rating and strength of schedule ranks 174th and 74th in the nation, respectively.


Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at the PMAC.

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