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Ole Miss Preview

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Now that LSUsports.net has put up a video of what I had wanted to start calling The Lost Classic, I can watch it this weekend and see what must have been one of the most exciting games ever played by LSU basketball, and certainly one of the biggest wins of recent years.

But while I can revel in what happened on Wednesday, the team must move on.  We get Ole Miss at 6:00pm on Saturday.  I am guessing this one will be televised, but I'm not sure by whom.  Ole Miss is, of course, the team we thumped on January 17, by a score of 83-51, in a game that arguably wasn't as close as the score.  

Since then, though, Ole Miss has stabilized and has played .500 ball, going 3-3 after their loss to us, including wins over some of the better teams in the conference, Kentucky and Mississippi State (on the road).  They beat Auburn by 19.  

Then again, they lost to Vandy.  But they have not had a repeat of what happened on January 17.  No team has blown them out.  I can't say they're a great team, but they've been OK.  They haven't been the team that we ran out of their own gym.  

Freshman Terrico White is an emerging star for Ole Miss.  After a slow start to the season, he is quickly becoming one of Ole Miss's best players.  In their loss to us, he was Ole Miss's sole bright spot, with 22 points.  In their wins since then, he has scored 21, 18, and 19 points, leading his team each game.  In their losses, he's had 14, 6, and 23 points.  A bad game by him seems to be doom, but a good game by him doesn't mean they win.

LSU will be hobbled by the loss of Bo Spencer, and I don't know how that's going to play out.  Is Garrett Temple going to be able to use up so much energy on offense if he is our primary ball handler?  Will we score transition baskets as effectively without Spencer in the lineup?  He seems to have a good feel for when and how to press the ball up the court quickly and when to set up in a halfcourt offense.  We aren't going to be the same team without Bo Spencer.

And of course, the biggest question is how this team will respond after the win against Mississippi State.  This is a classic let-down scenario.  A big win, hard-fought win that was physically and mentally draining followed by a game against an underwhelming team who might be just a little better than we suppose while battling a serious roster issue with an injury to a good player.

We're going to need to fight our way through this one and hopefully get Spencer back for the mid-week Arkansas game.