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LSU basketball looks to extend win streak to nine games

LSU v Texas Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images

The recently ranked No. 22 LSU men’s basketball team (15-4, 6-0 Southeastern Conference) returns to SEC play Wednesday night to face Alabama and coach Will Wade is not resting on his laurels after a win over Texas in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.

The Crimson Tide (12-7, 4-2 SEC) sit at fourth in the SEC and is also coming off a win over Kansas State in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.

This is the first time the Tigers have been ranked in the AP Top 25 since Nov. 11, when they had a 7-4 record. Now, the Tigers are the only remaining undefeated team in SEC play and haven’t lost a game since facing USC in the Basketball Hall of Fame Classic on Dec. 21.

Despite the wins and the ranking, Wade is not happy with his team’s overall play in recent weeks. LSU’s last six wins have come by five points or fewer and Wade emphasized that that type of play isn’t going to cut it in the long run.

“Yeah, I’m getting tired of losing all these leads and I’m going to talk to our guys about this,” Wade said at his weekly press conference. “I’ve tried to be nice about this and I’ve tried to talk through it and work through it but I’m done with that. We have terrible possessions, we do terrible things. We’ve got to get it corrected.”

The matchup will also allow two SEC players of the week to face off against each other.

Alabama sophomore guard Kira Lewis Jr. was named the SEC Men’s Basketball Co-Player of the Week, averaging 21 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists against Vanderbilt and Kansas State. LSU freshman and Alabama native Trendon Watford was named the SEC Freshman of the Week, averaging 18 points and 6 rebounds against Florida and Texas.

The Tide also have four of the top 30 three-point shooters in the SEC and the Tigers’ guard play has got to be better to limit the effects of that.

“You’ve got to cut down on their attempts,” Wade said. “They take almost 30 a game so if you can turn 10 of those three attempts a game into some twos, then you’re going to win the mathematical equation there. Teams are going to shoot what they shoot so you’ve got to limit attempts and go about it that way.”

Wade said some keys going forward include limiting turnovers and getting offensive rebounds.

The Tigers must be more consistent across the board. Wade compared the recent play to flipping a coin and not knowing what would come out on the other side — a win or a loss.

“Let’s stop flipping the damn coin and get it right so we win by double-digits and everybody can not have to take their heart medication every night,” Wade said.

“Everybody wants to sit over here and pat ourselves on the back for being ranked and 15-4, but it’s not going to work against Alabama. They’ll come in here and slap us around if we don’t get this stuff corrected.”

The Tigers and the Crimson Tide will tip off at 6 p.m. on ESPN2.