My apologies, everybody. I've been down and out as far as basketball coverage since the Nicholls State game. That one was a killer, you know.
I need to get back on track. Here's the good news and bad news on the season so far.
The good news:
The SEC West is weak. While football in the SEC west has never been better, basketball in the SEC west is just pathetic right now. Alabama and Auburn are just terrible right now. Mississippi State just lost to UAB. LSU might actually be one of the better teams in the West right now along with Arkansas and Ole Miss, though it's still too early to tell. On the other hand, the East is a beast. 5 of the East's teams have 7 wins, and Georgia has 6. Nobody in the West has more than 6. Tennessee looks like a powerhouse, not a team that has NCAA trouble. Kentucky, once again, is great. Let's be thankful we play Alabama and Auburn twice this season, and these guys only once.
Aaron Dotson. People say he has a new knee, but I'm wondering if he actually has a new pair of eyeballs. Dotson has made 10 of his 15 3-point attempts just one year after making just 7 of 46. Dotson has improved in every single area as a player, and now he looks like a guy that Louisville missed out on, not an injury casualty.
The freshmen. LSU's stellar freshman have lived up to the hype, so far. Andre Stringer and Ralston Turner are LSU's leading scorers. Matt Derenbecker has been hot and cold, but he is a capable seventh man. Jalen Courtney is a young guy who won't get a lot of minutes this year, but if he develops, he can be a Storm Warren-like player.
Balance. Nobody on LSU's roster is playing over 30 minutes per game on average. That's a good thing. With capable reserves like Derenbecker, Ludwig, Bass, Green and Populist, LSU has been able to spell the main five. This ensures that they don't get worn down as the season progresses. Dennis Harris coming back means LSU gets even more quality bench minutes.
And now the bad news-
Turnovers. LSU has an assists-to-turnovers ratio of 0.80, which is actually worse than last year's 0.89, which was not a very good rate to begin with. This is a very young team, of course, but the Tigers just won't be as good as they can be if they keep turning over the ball like this. And everybody's guilty here.
Fouls. LSU is 263rd in the nation in Fouls. The last thing the Tigers need is to give up free points.
Storm Warren. Not that he's playing BAD, but while everybody else has improved over last year, Storm seems to have regressed. A year after averaging 11.8 points per game, Storm's averaging just 7 right now, and considering the weak competition we've played, that average should be a lot higher. He has more weapons around him, true, but his field goal percentage has tumbled from .536 to .463, and his points per shot from 1.39 to 1.04. He's still a great blocker and a consistent rebounder, but he still gets into foul trouble often, and that's discouraging considering he's supposed to be a team leader. He needs to step up.
Statistics suggest that this LSU team isn't all that bad, but the few things we're not good at- assists, not turning the ball over, fouls- hurt us too much. It's time for LSU to stop making those mistakes, get over the hump, and become a good team. Can they do it?