Tonight is the first time this season that the LSU Tigers will be on the road for a game, and it turns out that this game means a lot more than it did in August. Although you want to win every game, Boise State comes into this game with a 6-2 record and perhaps the most impressive win for a mid major this season as they beat the Creighton Blue Jays at home. Creighton has Doug McDermott, who many think could be the Naismith Player of the Year, and are a team that has Final Four potential.
What it means for LSU is that the Tigers have a fantastic opportunity to both make a statement with a win, as well as build on their computer numbers. The SEC is particularly weak this year, and is currently 7th as a conference behind both the A-10 and Mountain West. Although there are chances for the conference to record some big wins over the next few weeks, it's unlikely that the SEC will do enough to make up the ground that has already been lost. The Tigers won't be able to afford losing a potential top 50 RPI game since they will be hard to come by once conference play starts. Only 4 other teams are currently in the top 50 right now, though it's likely that both Missouri and Kentucky move up while Ole Miss and Texas AM move down.
Last game against Chattanooga was perhaps the best shooting night that the Tigers had this season. The threes were falling for many different players and LSU finished 9-19 on the night. Andre Stringer did pretty well in his point guard role, as did Corban Collins and both may be key if Hickey is held out or gets only limited minutes. Either way, it's good to know that, as of right now, Hickey's ban isn't permanent or long term. On the other hand, it seems that my early fears for Charles Carmouche may be coming true, as he was out for much of the game due to knee pain. It's unclear if he will miss more time because of that, but whether he's healthy or not LSU will need to be able to count on the rest of the guards to make shots when he is unable to play.
What to look for tonight: Scoring, and lots of it, from the guard positions. Five of the top six scorers for BSU are listed as guards, and all of them certainly have the capability to shoot over LSU. Every player on the Broncos' roster is 6'2" or taller. The Broncos are averaging a respectable 75 points per game so far this season, so they definitely have the firepower on the perimeter to match LSU. Mostly every player that will see the floor tonight is experienced as well; the Broncos only have four freshmen that rarely play.
The Tigers will need to exploit their advantage at the post positions to have a chance at winning this game. Luckily, Shavon Coleman and Johnny O'Bryant have done a fantastic job this season scoring and rebounding, so it's entirely possible that LSU wins because of them again. Andrew Del Piero, while making contributions, is still making some bad mistakes on the offensive end, so if LSU is in a hole we probably won't see much of him in order to achieve a comeback.
Vegas currently has LSU as a 5.5 point underdog, though the line dropped slightly from 6.5 so bettors have been taking the Tigers. I think that taking LSU is the good pick, partly because I'm biased, and partly because I think they have an overall better team. Most people are afraid to go "all in" on the Tigers right now because they haven't played a tough schedule, but it doesn't diminish the fact that LSU has multiple scoring options at multiple positions, as well as an experienced, talented roster. I don't think LSU will win by much, but I think they will be heading to Irvine with a 7-0 record.
Game time is set for 8:00 CT and the game can only be found on the Geaux Zone(unless you live somewhere near Boise, Idaho I imagine).