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The LSU Tigers will be playing their first ranked team of the season at home. Florida is vulnerable at this time without Erik Murphy, but have more than enough talent elsewhere to pick up a win. Can Johnny Jones steal a win this afternoon?
SEC play opened with a dud for the LSU Tigers as they were defeated by the Auburn Tigers on the road. The forwards had a rough game, as Johnny O'Bryant and Shavon Coleman only scored 10 points on 5-19 shooting along with 7 combined turnovers. Although it's a game that a good team should win without any problems, LSU isn't that team yet. The talent is present at LSU, but the team isn't a completely cohesive unit just yet.
Today against Florida, LSU fans will see what a cohesive unit looks like. Point guard Kenny Boynton is a great leader in his senior year and has consistently improved both his game and the level of the team. Although his shooting numbers are down this year, he's still a great shooter and capable of making long three point shots. Patric Young is one of the SEC's best fowards, though his statistics don't show it. With more than enough offensive help on the outside, he isn't relied upon for scoring as much. In a different system, he could be averaging a double double and perhaps 20 points.
The key to an LSU victory is to disrupt Florida's rhythm. I think the easiest way to do that is to get certain players into foul trouble as early as possible. Whether it is Patric Young or Will Yeguete, LSU will need to get someone on Florida's front court out of the game ASAP. The Gators are already thin there with Erik Murphy's absence, and LSU can't match up with UF down low at full strength.
Offensively, LSU has some options. I think it's possible that any unit can lead LSU in scoring and secure a win. Whether it's JOB and Coleman or the guards, Florida isn't known as a team that can completely shut down any side of the scoring. Florida doesn't have big guards on the outside, so it will be possible for our smaller guards like Stringer and Hickey to get their shots off.
LSU opened as 9 point underdogs but the line moved to double digits and settled at +11 for the Tigers. Although I do think that it's a pretty fair line, from what I have seen so far around the country, road games have been closer than they "should be". LSU, I think, can finish the game with a win or a smaller loss and I would be tempted to take the points.
Gametime is set for 3:00 CT and the game can be seen on ESPNU.