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Basketball’s Most Threatening Non-Conference Matchups

Who should Tigers fans be eyeing before conference play begins?

NCAA Basketball: Florida at Louisiana State Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The LSU Tigers have never been a basketball powerhouse, but they're still a relatively large school in a solid conference. They may be 3-0 so far, but the real season doesn't start for LSU until after Christmas- their conference schedule starts on December 29th.

That doesn't guarantee they'll be unbeaten against non-conference opponents. Stunners can happen, especially when small rosters are involved like in basketball, but these three foes could take LSU down.

The first foe to watch for is the aptly named Wichita State Shockers, the most recent team to go unbeaten in the regular season. Their offense isn't particularly strong, but their defense is seventh in Division I, their rebounding ranks 15th, and they're 4-0, including an 80-53 victory over Tulsa. They won't be an easy team to score on, so LSU's offense has to shoot efficiently to have a chance. LSU will face the Shockers in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament the day before Thanksgiving. If LSU can beat the Shockers, the Bahamas tournament could see the Tigers face some tough basketball blue bloods like Louisville, Baylor, and Michigan St.

The second risky opponent is the Houston Cougars, who the Tigers play on November 29th. While they're better known as a football outsider with a chance to bust the CFP, they have a solid basketball team. We've only seen them play lowly teams so far, with a dominating win against Morgan State and a second half comeback in an exhibition against D2 Angelo State, but the scoring numbers they put up rank near the top of Division I. LSU will have to slow them down and avoid the shootout if they want this win.

The final non-conference test will come against Wake Forest on December 22nd, the last game before conference play starts. The Rangers aren't ranked, but being from the ACC, they should match the talent LSU can put on the court. We'll have a better idea of how good Wake Forest is (as well as LSU) once the game gets closer. The good news for LSU is that despite facing weaker schools so far and scoring 103 in a recent game vs UTEP, Wake Forest ranks in the middle of the pack in all categories, so LSU should have a decent chance to win this game outright.

Obviously the real competition will always be in the conference schedule, but LSU gave themselves some solid opponents this year. An early loss or two won't kill their chances, and winning will strengthen their resume before facing the grind of conference play.