Last night’s 39 point loss was a huge slap in the face, and a reminder that even if LSU is a Tournament team this season, they aren’t close to being a title contender. Moving on and learning from that performance is key, and I trust Coach Wade to get the guys in the right mindset to do so.
Before the Tigers return to the contiguous 48, they’ll play one last contest for 3rd place in the Maui Invitational against the Marquette Golden Eagles (2-2). Marquette won their first game in Maui against Coach Wade’s former team, VCU, and lost their game last night 80-66 against Wichita State. Both teams are looking to leave Maui with a winning record in the tournament, but only one will.
Marquette serves as something of a wild card for the Tigers. While their record stands at only .500 this early in the season, both of their losses were against really tough, Tournament teams in Purdue and Wichita State. Their only two wins were against a much less impressive Mount St. Mary’s and VCU.
According to KenPom, Marquette is currently ranked 56th in the nation, while LSU fell to 94th after last night’s loss. The Golden Eagles are given a slight edge for this matchup with a 66% chance of winning. The Tigers we saw late Monday night will need to show up if we want to stay in the game this time around, but unfortunately they’ll have to do so without Brandon Sampson.
If you missed last night’s tip, Brandon Sampson made a quick offensive rebound and took another shot, which he missed. As he came back to the floor, his left ankle turned while the rest of his leg did not. Fortunately, Coach Wade announced his full recovery is expected within 3-4 weeks, right in time for conference play.
Projected Marquette Starting 5
#30 - PG Andrew Rowsey: 23.5ppg, 3.5apg, 32.8 minutes
#00 - SG Markus Howard: 20.5ppg, 2.5apg, 30.5 minutes
#10 - PF Sam Hauser: 9.8ppg, 5.8rpg, 28.8 minutes
#25 - SF Haanif Cheatham: 9.0ppg, 3.0rpg, 27.3 minutes
#12 - C Matt Heldt: 4.8ppg, 5.0rpg, 24.0 minutes
Andrew Rowsey will obviously be the Golden Eagles main threat, and the Tigers need to work hard and early to keep him contained if they want to have a chance at this win. Rowsey is drawing almost seven fouls per 40 minutes, and is shooting 88.9% from the free throw line. Tremont Waters and Skylar Mays will probably take turns defending Rowsey, and they’ve got to be mindful of his knack for creating points through fouls. Be sure to keep an eye on those two playing defense, or whoever Wade has covering #30. That said, Marquette is only shooting 33.3% from beyond the arc, so hopefully LSU won’t get massacred from 3 like last night.
The Tigers tip off against the Golden Eagles at 3pm Maui time, 7pm Baton Rouge time this evening. This contest will be on television through ESPN2, and of course you can tune into 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge for Chris Blair and John Brady’s commentary. I’ll be traveling home this evening for Thanksgiving, so while I’m hopeful I’ll be able to update this thread and live tweet the game, I may not be able to.