As the saying goes, there ain’t no rest for the weary and that’s exactly the case for the #21 LSU men’s basketball team (13-1, 1-1) who play its third consecutive top-25 opponent Saturday night inside the PMAC.
LSU looks to continue its recent run of success over the #18 ranked Tennessee Volunteers (10-3, 1-1). The Tigers have won three straight over the Vols and got big performances out of Javonte Smart in all three of those wins.
Tennessee is one of the few defenses in the country that can match LSU’s. In fact the Tigers and Vols are first and second in KenPom’s adjusted defense metrics. They are 11th in turnover percentage, third in steal percentage, and 19th in blocks.
The Volunteers haven’t looked their best since conference play started—then again, neither has LSU. Tennessee dropped its opener on the road against Alabama and needed overtime to beat Ole Miss in a game in which they never led during regulation.
Tennessee’s got one of the better backcourt tandems in Santiago Vescovi and Kennedy Chandler. They both average 13 points a game and combine for about eight assists. The Vols also have senior John Fulkerson who is quite good at mucking up things for opposing offenses.
There’s been concerns about LSU’s offense this season but the Tigers have found a way to come out on top 13 out of 14 times. But expect a rock fight Saturday night in the PMAC as neither team will concede much on defense.
Baton Rouge has been a house of horrors for Tennessee as of late; Tennessee hasn’t won in the PMAC since 2015. Even Johnny Jones’s last LSU team, the team that finished 2-16 in SEC play and set a program record with 15 consecutive losses, managed to protect home court against the Vols.
Here’s hoping whatever hex is on the Volunteers continues for at least another year.