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GAMETHREAD: Basketball vs. #24 Houston, 8pm, ESPN2

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The Tigers take on their first true road game of the season

NCAA Basketball: Connecticut at Houston Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Having made quick work of their previous two opponents, the LSU Tigers (7-2) will take a trip down I-10 to take on the #24 Houston Cougars (8-0). The two teams met at the same time last year in the PMAC, a thrilling 80-77 victory for LSU. This game will be played in the newly christened Fertitta Center, which opened Houston’s home season only eleven days ago in a win over Oregon.

This game marks the beginning of the “real” season for LSU, with two ranked teams and a strong Saint Mary’s making up the next three contests. While Saint Mary’s and Furman will be very tough tests on their own, KenPom currently projects Houston as a five point favorite for tonight.

While the Tigers are working on a 13 game winning streak at home, the Cougars currently boast a 21 home game winning streak, good for the second longest in the nation. According to KenPom efficiency ratings, Houston has a top 50 offense and a top 30 defense. The Tigers haven’t won a game on the road since January 10th against Arkansas.

Coach Will Wade spoke with the media about the different challenges of a road game, especially against a ranked opponent.

“I hope we learn we can compete in a high pressure, high stakes game where it’s going to be a blood bath,” said Coach Wade. “You could call a foul every possession. (Houston is) as physical a team as we’ll play all year long. It’s like playing Georgia when Mark Fox was in our league. It’s going to be a huge test on the backboards, it’s going to be a huge test of our toughness. It’s going to be a huge test of our three-point defense. Our transition defense is going to get tested. Everything is going to get tested. Can we counter punch when they punch us? Can we settle into a game? All that stuff is going to be extremely important. It’ll be a game on the road against a top 25 ball club. Those are never easy.”

Tonight’s contest will tip off at 8pm and will be televised on ESPN2. You can also listen in to the game on 98.1FM or join the discussion in the comments.

Houston Cougars Projected Starting 5

#3 Armoni Brooks - 16.5 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 32.2 MPG

#25 Galen Robinson, Jr. - 8.8 PPG, 6.3 APG, 33.0 MPG

#23 Cedrick Alley Jr. - 7.4 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 27.8 MPG

#5 Corey Davis Jr. - 16.5 PPG, 4.4 APG, 32.2 MPG

#24 Breaon Brady - 7.5 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 16.1 MPG

LSU Tigers Projected Starting 5

#0 Naz Reid - 12.1 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 23.0 MPG

#1 Ja’Vonte Smart - 11.4 PPG, 3.3 APG, 28.6 MPG

#3 Tremont Waters - 11.4 PPG, 5.5 APG, 31.0 MPG

#4 Skylar Mays - 13.9 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 28.6 MPG

#22 Darius Days - 7.3 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 17.7 MPG