11/23/14 5:50 am CST
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
In just four days, LSU will conclude the regular season with a Thanksgiving Day battle against the Aggies of Texas A&M, so let’s begin taking a closer look at how the two teams stack up. Both teams enter the contest 7-4 overall and 3-4 in SEC play. LSU’s three SEC wins have come against Florida, Kentucky and Ole Miss, while A&M’s three conference wins were against South Carolina, Arkansas and Auburn. LSU is coming off an overtime loss to Alabama and a disastrous shutout against Arkansas. (Speaking of LSU’s loss to Arkansas, it doesn’t look quite as bad today after Arkansas shutout Ole Miss yesterday, 30-0. Then again, LSU’s signature win over Ole Miss doesn’t look quite as impressive anymore either.) A&M is coming off a three-point win at Auburn and a 7-point home loss to Missouri. As Mike Detillier put it in our recent Q&A, A&M is a “mercurial” team, and I guess judging from LSU’s last five games one could say the same for the Tigers.
Let’s take a look at how the Tigers and Aggies compare statistically, and in a subsequent report we’ll breakdown LSU’s offense, versus A&M’s defense and vice versa.
A few observations from the stats:
• As expected, LSU dominates the defensive stats while A&M dominates offensively.
• A&M is extremely pass-heavy, which plays to LSU’s defensive strength. LSU is 5th in the nation and No. 1 in the SEC in pass defense.
• A&M gives up an average of over 200 yards per game against the rush. Obviously, this also plays to LSU’s strength as the Tigers are likely to rely heavily on their run game, as usual.
• Special teams stats are pretty even, but LSU has an advantage in turnover margin.
Considering each teams’ strengths and weaknesses, the stats clearly favor LSU. On paper, this looks like a game that LSU should be able to win by pounding the rock and playing stout defense, especially against the pass. Of course, a lot of the Tigers’ success will depend on their mindset and their will to win. The difference in a win and loss could be the difference in a pretty good bowl game and a not-so-special one, but more importantly a win would keep the Tigers from having what would surely be a demoralizing three-game skid for the team and fans.
Turning to basketball… LSU rebounded from its first loss of the season and came away with a big win over Weber State last night, 72-58. For the third straight game, LSU went on a cold spell late in the first half and allowed the opponent to make a run. With the Tigers leading 26-18 with under three minutes left in the half, Weber State went on a 9-2 run to cut LSU’s lead to 28-27 at the break. The Wildcats scored the first points of the second half, but Jarell Martin responded by scoring his first points on a dunk, and LSU took control of the game after that. Weber State tied the game at 41 with 14:35 remaining, but then the Tigers went on an 8-1 run on two Jordan Mickey jumpers and layups from Josh Gray and Tim Quarterman to lead 49-42 with just over 12 minutes remaining. The Wildcats never got closer than five, and LSU finished the game on a 15-7 run in the final seven minutes of the game for the final margin.
After struggling on Friday against Old Dominion, it was good to see Mickey bounce back in a big way with a career-high 27 points and 14 rebounds. Keith Hornsby added 18 points, four rebounds and four assists and Martin scored all 11 of his points in the second half and grabbed four rebounds. The Tigers committed 13 turnovers but forced 18 from the Wildcats and out-rebounded them 34-29. LSU shot 49.2% from the field (32-65), 83.3% from the free-throw line (5-6) and 37.5% from the 3-pt line (3-8). LSU held Weber State to 42.6% shooting from the field (20-47).
LSU got hot from the field in the second half after only shooting 38% (13-34) in the first half. Led by Mickey’s 8-10 shooting in the second half, the Tigers shot 61% from the field (19-31). After attempting 58 3-pointers in their first three games, LSU only attempted eight against the Wildcats and committed to its inside game to take control in the second half. The Tigers were also able to stay out of foul trouble, as Martin was the only Tiger with four fouls, and his fourth foul was committed with about five minutes remaining in the game with LSU ahead 61-53. All in all, it was a solid win for the Tigers.
LSU’s men return to action on Monday at 3pm CT against Clemson for their last game at the Paradise Jam Classic in the US Virgin Islands. There will be video streaming of the game and the broadcast will be available on 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge
In women’s basketball news, LSU’s Lady Tigers lost to No. 22 Rutgers, 64-57. For more on that game, please see this article on LSUSports.net.
In closing, I’ll leave you with two good reads:
• This first one is about David LaCerte, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs, sending a letter to Coach Miles Tuesday asking him to give walk-on Tiger player and war veteran Luke Boyd "a few snaps" in LSU's regular season finale at Texas A&M on Thanksgiving Day. I sure would like to see that too. La. state official asks LSU coach Les Miles to give Luke Boyd 'a few snaps' vs. Texas A&M
• This second one is about legendary former LSU men’s basketball coach Dale Brown being inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame tonight. The ceremony begins at 7:30 p.m. and will be televised by ESNPU. Congratulations, Coach Brown! The honor is certainly well-deserved. Rendered humble & speechless, LSU legend Dale Brown is ready to join the elite