Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
The first big test of the season starts at home against a team from the Big East, Seton Hall. LSU can't afford to play anything less than a full 40 minutes. Will Johnny Jones score his first marquee win and keep the streak going?
For the first time this season, the LSU Tigers will be taking on a team from a major conference. Despite the fact that Seton Hall hasn't been to the NCAA tournament since 2006 and only three times since 2000, they have still at least been able to keep the ship afloat in the Big East. In such a tough conference, it's still decent for the Pirates to have finished ahead of the bottom dwellers like Rutgers and Depaul since the conference expanded in the mid 2000's.
The recruiting has steadily increased under head coach Kevin Willard. Fuquan Edwin, as mentioned previously, is having a stellar start to the year and looks to be a first team All Big East player so far. He's shooting lights out from behind the arc and has taken a leadership role for a young team. He's a player that knows how to play his position well and has the offensive game to be able to score inside and out. His size could cause problems for LSU since he tends not to be played as a power forward like Shavon Coleman and/or Johnny O'Bryant.
The place where LSU will have the upper hand is in the back court. Anthony Hickey and whoever he is on the floor with will be better than whoever they match up against for the Pirates. It could be Carmouche, Stringer, or Morgan because all three have played really well so far. It seems like Carmouche tends not to be on the floor at the same time as Hickey, but he may be needed tonight to knock down some open shots if Hickey can get past his defender.
Down low is where LSU could struggle. Gene Teague is off to a great start and has the skills to get our forwards into foul trouble. LSU can get away with using Andrew Del Piero against vastly inferior teams, but when he's going against quality players that have post moves, he could get into trouble. His physical edge covered up for mistakes in the previous game, specifically that he moves his feet slow on defense. If Del Piero does play tonight, he will need to be active defensively and hope that whoever he is teamed up with down low can clean up any rebounds.
Brian Oliver, a Georgia Tech transfer, will also need to be keyed in on. At 6'6", he's big enough that he could get his shot over a guard if the Pirates choose to use him at the shooting guard spot. At the same time, if he's matched up with a forward, it could give us problems rebounding, specifically if Coleman is guarding him. From what I've seen, he's a very streaky shooter, so he could go off for 30 tonight or finish shooting 1 for 7. LSU will need to be prepared for him though.
LSU comes into the game as 5.5 point favorites, which is a jump from the 3 points they started giving up. Vegas thought the teams were equal, the bettors didn't and have favored the Tigers so far. I think it's a risky line since I could see LSU winning by less and I don't really envision many scenarios where we totally blow out the best team we have played so far. Not to mention this group of players tends to blow big leads, so I wouldn't feel comfortable betting this line. I do think LSU will win, I just don't know if it will be by more than 2 scores.
Tipoff is set for 8:30 in the PMAC, and finally, fans from far away can see this game as it will be on ESPNU. If you're wondering how the computer requirements work, certain cable companies allow WatchESPN, so if you have that you can watch it with no problem. ESPN3 is no longer the same thing, so if that is all that your company provides, you will have to find it on TV or an illegal stream. It shouldn't have any blackout restrictions.