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GAMETHREAD: Basketball vs. LA Tech, 7pm, SEC Network+

Tigers seek their best start in six years

NCAA Basketball: Memphis at Louisiana State Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

In an effort to start 4-0 for the first time since Johnny Jones’ first season at LSU, the #22 Tigers will take on the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs tonight in the PMAC. This will be the fourth and final game of this home stand before LSU heads to Disney World for the AdvoCare Invitational.

Louisiana Tech heads to Baton Rouge touting a 3-0 record of their own, including an impressive road win over Wichita State. Usually providing the easiest games of the entire year, this season’s first four games matched the Tigers up with tougher teams than most realize.

“They won at Wichita State,” Coach Wade said to the media Thursday. “Sometimes when you pull the upsets in those type of games, it’s because somebody comes in and nails a bunch of threes or something crazy happens. Louisiana Tech just beat Wichita. They were up the whole game. It was comfortable. They didn’t have anybody that had an out of body experience, hitting a bunch of threes. It was just a total takedown. They were more physical. They rebounded well. They guarded well. I thought it says a lot about Louisiana Tech and the program, how they went into Wichita and won in such a tough environment.”

On discussing keys to the game, Wade immediately complimented Tech on their ability to draw contact and get opponents in early foul trouble.

“They score a ton of points from the free-throw line. They’ve made 58 free-throws on the year and their opponents have attempted 57. They’ve made more on the year than their opponents have attempted,” Wade reiterated. “A little bit more than a third of their scoring is from the free-throw line. They’re top-10 in the country in fouled percentage so that’s something we’ve got to do a good job on.”

Granted they’ve only played three games, the Bulldogs currently boast a FTA/FGA of 74.5% and an offensive rebounding rate of 38.1%, good for 6th and 37th in basketball, respectively. In other words, Tech is averaging a trip to the free throw line for every three shot attempts and an offensive rebound for every three missed shots. Just like UNC-Greensboro and Memphis, this will probably end up being a closer game than many anticipate.

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Projected Starting 5

#3 - Amorie Archibald: 12.7 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 26.3 MPG

#10 - Anthony Duruji: 10.3 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 23.3 MPG

#21 - Exavian Christon: 10.0 PPG, 1.3 SPG, 27.0 MPG

#35 - Oliver Powell: 8.3 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 22.3 MPG

#1 - Derric Jean: 5.0 PPG, 4.3 APG, 19.7 MPG

LSU Tigers Projected Starting 5

#0 - Naz Reid: 19.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 24.3 MPG

#4 - Skylar Mays: 13.0 PPG, 2.0 APG, 27.3 MPG

#3 - Tremont Waters: 12.7 PPG, 6.6 APG, 32.0 MPG

#1 - Ja’vonte Smart: 12.0 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 24.3 MPG

#24 - Emmitt Williams: 10.0 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 22.7 MPG

Tonight’s contest will tip off at 7pm in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center and will be streamed live on the SEC Network+. You can also listen to the game on 98.1FM, follow my live tweets @marq113, or join the discussion in the comments below.