The No. 21 LSU men’s basketball team (12-1, 0-1), took it on the chin six days ago on The Plains against Auburn and suffered its first defeat of the 2021-2022 season. Now the Tigers try to pick themselves up off the floor Tuesday night as LSU hosts the No. 16 ranked Kentucky Wildcats (11-2, 1-0).
Tuesday night inside the Pete Maravich Assembly Center figures to be an emotional one as the court will be named after former men’s basketball head coach Dale Brown.
"I owe it to Coach Brown. He believed in me when I didn’t even believe in myself." -@SHAQ— LSU Basketball (@LSUBasketball) January 4, 2022
Tonight, we honor the winningest coach in LSU Basketball history, Coach Dale Brown. pic.twitter.com/eh1nAX9bUS
But Kentucky could care less about the festivities as the Wildcats have bounced back from a disappointing 2020-2021 season. Last season Kentucky won nine games and finished eighth in the SEC; this season Big Blue’s already won 11 games and hopes to be the last team standing in the race for conference supremacy.
Kentucky’s been on a roll lately. The Wildcats have won four in a row, with the smallest margin of victory being 27 points; they ran Missouri off the Rupp Arena floor last Wednesday night 83-56 in its SEC opener.
One of the biggest reasons for Kentucky’s return to form has been the play of Oscar Tshiebwe, a transfer from West Virginia. Tshiebwe is averaging 15 points and 15 rebounds which leads the nation. He grabbed 28 rebounds in a game against Western Kentucky which was the most by a player in Rupp Arena history. LSU’s good maybe not great on the boards. The Tigers a top-30 team in offensive rebounding but 79th in defensive boards, so they’ll need Efton Reid, Tari Eason, and Darius Days to bring their A-games tonight to keep Tshiebwe in check.
Of course a Coach Cal Kentucky team wouldn’t be complete without some star freshmen and this year’s team has TyTy Washington. Washington’s already been named the SEC freshman of the week three times and has been making good decisions with the ball, handing out 31 assists over Kentucky’s last six games. He’s Big Blue’s leading scorer as well averaging 14 points with an impressive 50/41/81 shooting splits.
Tipoff is set for 6:00 P.M. and the ceremony naming the court in Dale Brown’s honor will begin at 5:45; Brown will also speak to the crowd at halftime.