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Preview/Gamethread: LSU vs. Sam Houston St.

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The Tigers finally emerge from their finals slumber. Will they roar against the Bearkats?

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

It's game-on for the LSU hoops squad. Exams are over, andChristmas isn't here yet, but LSU needs major focus for an uninspiring holiday slate that kicks off Saturday evening with Sam Houston State in the PMAC. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m., with SEC Network television and radio broadcast on 98.1 in the Baton Rouge area.

After an emotionally draining, successful week that officially reversed the course of LSU's season in the span of 48 hours, it's on LSU to handle a pesky yet limited Bearkats squad.

They're led by guard Kaheem Randon, who's their do-it-all offensive chief, averaging 11 points, five boards, four assists and four steals per game. His versatile game fits in well with the Sam Houston attack, which averages around 70 points a ballgame.

It's also a guard-oriented group, as six guards are in SHSU's top nine in playing time. That should test the perimeter depth of LSU, which desperately needs Jalyn Patterson to deliver with adequate bench play, especially given the huge chunk of minutes Josh Gray and Keith Hornsby have seen this year. Thankfully, Tim Quarterman has dutifully picked up the slack while serving as LSU's sparkplug as a 6th man.

LSU will have the decided advantage on the boards here, like it has all season. The Tigers are out rebounding teams by seven a game. Plus, the Bearkats only have two major contributors taller than 6-6. Expect a monster margin on the glass and easy double-doubles from Jarell Martin and Jordan Mickey.

Don't take the Bearkats too lightly, though, as they are probably, sadly the best team LSU will face until conference play in early January. They're 5-3, made the Southland Conference Championship game last season and already took a decent UNLV squad to the wire back in November. Still, this speaks more to how soft the Tigers' schedule is until league play.

Ultimately, this game will come down to the focus of the home team. If LSU comes out with purpose and efficiency after a nine-day break - like the wins motivated them instead of going to their head - this shouldn't be much of a game. To the tune of a 20-25 point win.

Still, we haven't seen the Tigers feast on an inferior foe with ease so far. Let's see if they run the Bearkats off the court the way the football team did back in September.