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GAMETHREAD: Basketball at Alabama, 8pm, SEC Network

Tigers look to avenge last month’s loss in the PMAC

NCAA Basketball: Alabama at Louisiana State Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

While the rest of the state is busy celebrating Mardi Gras and contemplating which potential Lenten sacrifices wouldn’t be too bad, the LSU Tigers will spend their Tuesday evening in Tuscaloosa with hopes of upsetting the Alabama Crimson Tide. The Tigers (14-10, 5-7) were beaten by Alabama (16-9, 7-5) on January 13th by a score of 74-66.

The Tide are currently tied for fourth place in the SEC standings, most recently upsetting Tennessee in a 78-50 blowout. “That is as good as I have seen a team, on tape, as I have seen all season,” said Coach Wade before the team left for Tuscaloosa. “They are a really, really good defensive team. It is going to be tough sledding. They are the best defensive team in our league, statistically. It is not just stats, they look it. They are long, athletic, they rebound, and they block shots. It will take a very good effort from us to put ourselves in a position to have a chance.”

According to KenPom metrics, the Tide easily boast the most efficient defense in the SEC, and the tenth most efficient defense in Division-I. “Pray,” Wade answered when asked how to attack Alabama’s defense. “Tennessee scored 50 on them. You have to spread them. Our best chance is to bang a bunch of threes. Hope the three ball goes in. They are bigger, longer, and more athletic than us at every position. There are ways to compensate for that. Hopefully we will do that. The biggest way to compensate is to make threes.”

If we’re looking for more favorable patterns, Alabama’s alternated results in their last six contest, following each win with a confusing loss. Sandwiched between really strong wins against Oklahoma, Florida, and Tennessee are losses against Missouri, Mississippi State, and Ole Miss. If the Tide continues their trend of not being able to follow a win with another win, we could be in for a surprise tonight.

More rationally...we may need to rely on the mercy of the three ball as Wade plans. A heavy load of responsibility for making the long ball happen tonight falls on the shoulders of Duop Reath, whose post game may need to suffer in favor of kicking out passes to his guards.

“We are going to need to kick it out tomorrow night because they are going to collapse on him so fast, he won’t even have the ball before the four man is there,” Wade spoke of his senior power forward. “We have to move that thing around. We need to get it to him in the right spots. The first game, we hung him out to dry. Turned the ball over too much to Alabama in the first game, but our guards hung him out to dry. They gave him the ball in terrible spots. They gave him the ball in the wrong spots. It was a disaster.”

Projected Alabama Crimson Tide Starting 5

#2 PG - Collin Sexton: 18.5 PPG, 3.4 APG, 29.4 minutes

#12 SF - Dazon Ingram: 10.1 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 28.8 minutes

#23 SG - John Petty: 10.8 PPG, 2.0 APG, 28.8 minutes

#0 C/PF - Donta Hall: 11.0 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 23.5 minutes

#10 SF - Herbert Jones: 5.1 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 22.5 minutes

Tonight’s game between the Crimson Tide and the Tigers will tip off at 8pm on the SEC Network in the Coleman Coliseum. You can listen in on the radio at 98.1 FM, or follow along in the comments below or on Twitter @marq113.