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GAMETHREAD: Men’s Basketball vs. NC Central, 8pm, SEC Network

Tigers return from finals week hiatus to face a stretch of high RPI matchups

NCAA Basketball: Houston at Louisiana State Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports

The Fall 2016 semester is finally over, meaning Bowl Season is days away, several thousand kids will stress about loans instead of grades, and the out of conference schedule will soon come to a close. The Tigers (5-2) are coming off an impressive victory against Houston two weeks ago, which sounds like a joke until I tell you they’re 7-2 and ranked 43rd in RPI. For comparison’s sake, LSU is currently ranked 118, even after besting the Cougars.

Tonight’s opponent, the NC Central Eagles, also has a higher RPI than LSU at 85. In fact, LSU’s entire remaining out of conference schedule is ranked higher (Texas Southern at 74, College of Charleston at 51, and Wake Forest at 12). So this December has the potential to be some extreme RPI-boosting, or a complete disaster. MORE ON THAT AS IT DEVELOPS!

NC Central is 6-4, but their most impressive win might be over LIU Brooklyn. I would mention their victory over Mizzou, but that might actually be an embarrassing win to be proud of. They probably won’t catch a lot of RPI-boosters in the MEAC either, as they’re the only winning team in the conference. Keep an eye out for senior guard Patrick Cole, who leads the Eagles with 21.0 PPG, 7.6 RPG, and 6.3 APG. There aren’t too many big numbers behind Cole, so if he can be shut down or put into early foul trouble, it shouldn’t be too much of a hassle for the Tigers. That being said, LSU needs to play like the LSU from two weeks ago, not like the LSU from The Bahamas.

Tonight’s tipoff it at 8pm in the PMAC, and will be televised on the SEC Network. Follow along on Twitter at @marq113, or join the discussion in the comments below.