The non-conference portion of Will Wade and his LSU Tigers’ schedule was far from normal.
LSU lost out on four games due to COVID protocols, including a highly anticipated game against Wade’s former employer, the VCU Rams; LSU dropped a game Thanksgiving weekend to a really good Saint Louis team; and the Tigers have also seen a true freshman, Cam Thomas, emerge as one of college basketball’s best scorers.
Now the focus turns to SEC play, and LSU (5-1) opens up with a home game against the Texas A&M Aggies (5-1).
LSU has owned the series as of late, winning the last six games. It’s hard to gage how good either team truly is. A&M has only played one team from a major conference, TCU, and lost by 18; LSU, on the other hand, has only played one team that’s considered good, St. Louis, and lost that game by four.
There is however, one specific tiebreaker we can use to determine who’s better. *extreme CFP committee voice* common opponent. LSU and Texas A&M both played Southeastern; LSU beat the Lions by 53, while A&M “only” won by 17. Make of that what you will.
A&M comes into Baton Rouge fresh off a win over Wofford. The Aggies have three key players to watch: sophomore forward Emmanuel Miller is the leading scorer and rebounder, averaging 18 points and 9 rebounds; A&M also has a pair of reliable seniors in Quenton Jackson (11 points, 6 rebounds) and Savion Flagg, who is one of the more imposing defenders in the SEC.
LSU is expected to have Javonte Smart back on the floor. Smart missed the Nicholls State game due to COVID protocols. The Tigers had to rely on a pair of true freshmen, Eric Gaines and Jalen Cook, in Smart’s absence. But the biggest area of improvement I’m looking for is rebounding, especially on the offensive end. Nicholls had a +7 advantage on the offensive glass which led to 18 second chance points and 42 points in the paint.
Tipoff is set for 6:00 P.M. and will be carried on SEC Network.