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Tigers host No. 16 Volunteers

LSU takes on Tennessee with second place on the line

NCAA Basketball: Texas Tech at Louisiana State Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The LSU men’s basketball team (12-6, 7-4) has a massive opportunity to bolster its NCAA tournament resumé and stay in contention for both a top-four seed and a double-bye in the looming SEC Tournament.

That opportunity comes in the form of hosting the No. 16 Tennessee Volunteers (14-4, 7-4).

As has been documented all season long, Will Wade’s squad has squandered chance after chance when it comes to beating quality opponents. LSU has been blown out by Alabama twice, came up short on the road against Florida and Saint Louis, and choked away a game against Texas Tech. Add in the fact that LSU may not get to make up its postponed games at Missouri and Florida’s return trip to Baton Rouge and this is quite literally the last chance LSU has at scoring a truly great win.

But it won’t be easy, as Tennessee is truly one of the nation’s elite squads and is fighting for a 2 or 3-seed in the NCAA Tournament. They’re 14th overall per Ken Pomeroy and second in adjusted defense, plus they’re getting reigning SEC defensive player of the year Yves Pons back from a knee injury.

“He’s gonna be tough to score over, he blocks almost two shots a game in SEC play, he’s active, he’s all over the court, he’s a Defensive Player of the Year and there’s a reason for that,” Will Wade said. “He’s very active, he’s very athletic so that makes them very dangerous and very good defensively.”

That could be a problem for an LSU team that has struggled scoring the ball as of late. LSU averages 82 points per game, but fell well beneath that mark when LSU dropped four of five games. In those four losses, LSU averaged 69 points a game. Not nice!

But LSU looked more like what we’re accustomed to seeing Wednesday night against Mississippi State. The Tigers scored 94 points and tied a season-best with 22 assists. It’s not a coincidence that the best offensive game for LSU in some time came when Darius Days returned to the lineup and Cam Thomas had an efficient night shooting.

Tipoff is set for 1:00 and will be carried by ESPN.