The LSU Tigers face Indiana State in a 7 p.m. first round game Monday night in the Dick’s Sporting Goods National Invitational Tournament Season Tip-Off at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The Tigers, 1-0 on the young season, host the South Region of the 16-team event with Milwaukee and No. 5 seed Western Kentucky meeting in Monday’s opening game at 4:30 p.m. LSU is the No. 3 seed in the tournament.
The same four teams all play on the second night Tuesday with winners and losers meeting. The team that finishes play on Tuesday with a 2-0 record advances to the NIT semifinals in New York City, Nov. 25 and 27. All teams are guaranteed four games and if necessary, consolation games will be hosted by LSU on Nov. 23 and 24.
LSU opened its season with a nice 82-62 win over ULM on Friday night as Bo Spencer had a career high 23 points and Tasmin Mitchell added 15, but the play of the night belonged to sophomore Storm Warren who brought a strong performance to the floor, posting his second career double double of 15 points and 12 rebounds.
“Storm was in a situation at the four where he had a strength advantage,” LSU Coach Trent Johnson said. “Obviously he works extremely hard with rebounding and that’s what we need and expect from him. What I thought he did a better job of, which is a great sign, is how he finished at the rim. He had two contested left shoulder jump hooks and that’s good for us. From a rebounding and energy standpoint defensively, that’s what I expected from him. He’s going to have to get better from each game out.”
Indiana State was an 88-58 winner over Nebraska-Kearney on Friday. Jake Kelly was 10-of-10 at the free throw line and led Indiana State with 16 points, while Rashad Reed off the bench had 14. Jordan Printy had 11 and Harry Marshall and Aaron Carter had 10 each. The Sycamores shot 46.6 percent from the field and had just six turnovers, while forcing 18 from Nebraska-Kearney.
“We’ve got a very good basketball team coming in here,” said Johnson. “Indiana State is an experienced team with a lot of discipline. Our deficiencies from an experience factor are going to be exposed. It’s one of these games that, as a coach, you’d like to have a little more time to practice and all those type of things.”
This marks the third time LSU has appeared in the pre-season NIT. In November 1986, coming off a Final Four season, LSU lost to TCU in the LSU Assembly Center, 83-74, in the opening round of the event. LSU was again a host in Nov. 1989, beating Southern Miss, 91-80, before the No. 2 Tigers lost to Kansas and then first-year coach Roy Williams, 89-83.
LSU will be trying to get to Madison Square Garden for the first time since the entire post-season NIT was played there in 1970.