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Basketball Opener Changed, Tigers Now to Begin Season in St. Louis

Goodbye Lincoln, hello St. Louis

NC State v Saint Louis Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images


In addition to LSU beginning the regular season in St. Louis, the Tigers have also changed its 2020-21 home schedule. LSU was supposed to play three games in the Golden Window Classic, but will only play two in St. Louis. To make up for that, LSU will now open the PMAC a week earlier, hosting the Lions of Southeastern. Tipoff is set for 7:00 P.M., and will be streamed on SEC Network+. The Tigers were originally supposed to begin the home schedule on December 6 against Louisiana Tech.

The 2020 college basketball season begins Wednesday and, like college football, COVID-19 is forcing teams to shuffle its schedule on the fly.

LSU is no exception; the Tigers were supposed to begin their 2020-21 campaign in the Golden Window Classic, a multi-team event in Lincoln, Nebraska. LSU’s involvement is now off, as is Saint Louis’s, Western Kentucky’s, and San Francisco’s, whom LSU was supposed to play on Wednesday. Oklahoma State was in the initial field but pulled out last month; Illinois State and Northern Iowa also left the multi-team-event last week.

Instead, LSU will follow Saint Louis and play in the Billiken Classic, which will be held in Saint Louis’s home, the Chaifetz Arena. Joining LSU and Saint Louis will be Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, from the Ohio Valley Conference, and the University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis, which is an NAIA school.

Saint Louis may not be the biggest name, but the Billikens are a legitimate group. Saint Louis is one of the favorites to win the Atlantic-10 this season and are a quadrant one opponent. The Billikens have been improving exponentially the past few years, finishing the shortened 2019-2020 season ranked 62nd on KenPom. Head coach Travis Ford has guided the Billikens from a 12-21 record in 2016-17, to back-to-back years with 23 wins, including winning the A-10 Conference Tournament and earning an NCAA Tourney appearance in 2019.

LSU will play SIUE on Thanksgiving Day, and then play Saint Louis that Saturday. Fans will not be allowed inside. Times and TV/streaming carriers have yet to be announced.