After more than a week off, the LSU Tigers have one final home game before they make the trip out west to play against the surging Boise State Broncos and pesky UC Irvine Anteaters. Of course, the big story is still the fact that the team will be without Anthony Hickey for the foreseeable future and the problems that it causes both now and potentially next year. Perhaps I'm going too far ahead, but it seems like in every other year that a problem like this came up, whatever player was in this situation was done at LSU once the news broke.
Without much direct information, there's really a lot of possibilities. Hickey could be academically ineligible and would need to get his grades up to a certain level before he could be cleared to play. Since he's a sophomore, it could be possible for him to take a few classes during winter intersession and hopefully get back in January. If he can't do that, he would need to do the same and hope to be eligible in the fall. That's really the best that LSU and Anthony Hickey could hope for if academics are the problem. If it isn't, Hickey is really at the mercy of either the NCAA, LSU, or the coach for whichever rule he might have broken that wasn't academic in nature. As we saw with John Isaac, it can be a career ending decision.
As for the game tonight, it's unlikely that LSU will suffer too much. Andre Stringer, Malik Morgan, and Charles Carmouche are good enough to beat an inferior Chattanooga team by themselves. Corban Collins has been decent so far, but I don't think he can be relied upon for anything other than scoring a few points and not turning the ball over when he's in the game. Playing point guard is difficult as a freshman, so really he needs to get help from the shooting guards and minimize his mistakes.
Shavon Coleman will need to continue to play with the intensity he's become known for in his short time at LSU. He's been great in the full court press, and while it was a total team effort to get the win over Seton Hall, I think the on ball pressure that he has makes him the most important defender that LSU has. Shane Hammink has been quiet recently and will need to find his offensive game more, as Coleman is starting to cement himself into a forward spot along side Johnny O'Bryant.
The game is on the board tonight, and LSU looks to be 19 point favorites. I'd stay away from LSU tonight, even though they are much more talented than Chattanooga. The Mocs put a scare into Kansas at Phog Allen earlier in the season and have been stingy defensively so there might not be enough points to clear the spread tonight. Farad Cobb is the guard to watch, as he went 7-9 against Kansas from three point range. Another night like that and LSU could have a loss before the west coast trip.
Tip-off is set for 7:00 CT and the game can once again be seen on CST and the Geauxzone.