Overall, I would say it has been a fun season for the LSU Tigers. Although it may not be ending anytime soon, LSU really played well after a poor start and set themselves up to come into the 2013-2014 season with a lot of momentum. A few key players will be moving on, such as Charles Carmouche, Andrew Del Piero, and Eddie Ludwig, but the bulk of the team will be back together next year. A large, six person recruiting class will be joining them, and it's one that features three top-100 players.
Today against Ole Miss, LSU isn't playing for all that much, at least not compared to the Rebels. Ole Miss is still squarely on the bubble, and it's pretty clear that a loss would severely damage their season. Tension must be high in their locker room, after they put themselves onto the bubble by losing to Mississippi State. A win against Alabama keeps their hope alive, for now.
The match up everyone will be talking about and what might be the most important is Marshall Henderson against LSU's perimeter defense. It's no secret that LSU defends behind the arc well, and Henderson is a player will shoot any chance he gets. Sometimes he's hot and can win the game, like he did against Vanderbilt, and other times he's absurdly bad like he was against Mississippi State.
Anthony Hickey should get the green light defensively to harass him every time he touches the ball. Henderson is a player that can be affected by pressure and poor play. A few costly turnovers could wreck his confidence and lead to some really bad shots that LSU can turn into transition baskets.
Another big match up will be Johnny O'Bryant against Murphy Holloway. Statistically they are very similar and both teams rely on each inside to score the tough baskets. Holloway shoots at a better percentage, suggesting that he is more comfortable with "can't miss" shots, while JOB3 has the ability to step outside the lane and knock down jumpers. Although they are likely to be matched up together, it may occur that neither plays all that effectively on defense against the other, and instead it comes down to others to win the game.
Unlike most schools in the country, Ole Miss loves high scoring shoot outs. LSU isn't afraid of high tempo either, though they have shown the ability to slow a game down when they don't have an advantage on the court such as when there's foul trouble. I think LSU will be perfectly willing to run against Ole Miss at every opportunity, but slow it down to cause some frustration if they get a solid lead. I would expect the opposite from the Rebels, once they get a lead they will try to bury the Tigers at home and squash all comeback attempts.
Vegas gives LSU a small edge at home, just 2 points, with a high over/under at 152. I think both are pretty non-descript, as the game should finish in the 70's and should be close throughout. I'm not sure I would bet either line since I'm not convinced LSU wins this game with ease and I think the O/U is fair.
Game time is set for 12:30 and the game can be seen on the SEC Network (Louisiana affiliates: Alexandra - KLAX-DT2; Baton Rouge - WAFB; Lafayette - KADN; Monroe - KARD; New Orleans - WUPL; Shreveport - KMSS) and ESPN3.