The reality of LSU’s situation has long sunk in for head coach Trent Johnson.
After the Tigers were pounded on Thursday night by Arkansas to the tune of an 87-62 rout, Johnson – head down in the postgame press conference – gave the Razorback writers the grim truth of LSU’s current state.
“We are not really good,” he said. “There is no secret to that.”
When asked what was correctable, Johnson pointed to the fundamentals – putting a body on the opposition when the ball is in the air.
With their sights turned to No. 24 Vanderbilt, the Tigers better hope that change comes quick.
While the two teams have yet to cross paths this season, the Commodores are coming off a 90-71 home win over in-state rival Tennessee, the same Volunteers team that topped LSU in Baton Rouge a week prior.
From start to finish, Vanderbilt dominated the boards (40-26), leaving the long and athletic Tennessee side scratching their heads.
“[Rebounding] is a concern for us going into every weekend,” Johnson said. “A lot has to do with strength and physical ability. We have to find a way to put a body on people and keep the ball in front of us.”
Against the Razorbacks, Johnson allowed 11 players to record over 10 minutes of action. Zach Kinsley and Daron Populist, a pair of walk on guards, each spent more than 20 minutes on the floor.
“We are trying to find guys who will make plays,” Johnson said. “Everyone is staying aggressive. They are trying; they aren’t playing timid.
“Still, nobody has separated themselves.”
Battling the Injury Bug
The Tigers were without Bo Spencer for the second half of Wednesday’s game after the junior guard suffered an ankle injury.
At the post-game press conference, Johnson called the injury a “bad sprain”.
On Thursday afternoon, Spencer’s status had not improved.
“Bo is a no-go today and [Friday] is a question mark,” Johnson said. His status for Saturday’s game against Vanderbilt remains unknown.
Storm Warren, whose minutes have been limited as he battles injury, should be in the lineup once more.
“Storm is having a hamstring issue, and he is beat up physically,” Johnson said. “He has been going with it for five or six games in a row.”
Lack of Scoring
The Tigers three main offensive threats – Tasmin Mitchell, Bo Spencer and Storm Warren – remain the lone bodies providing points for Johnson.
While all three average double-digit scoring, the next top point total is Dennis Harris’ average of 3.9 points per game. Chris Bass and Garrett Green, who have been with the program for two seasons, average less than three points.
“Garrett, Dennis, Bass, I expect more consistent play out of them,” Johnson said. “It is about not making the same mistakes, whether setting a screen, blocking out or knocking down an open shot in a game that they usually do in practice.”