NCAA Baseball Championships:
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11/7/18 5:35 am CST
Good morning, Tiger Fans,
Basketball fans were anxious to see what the new talent assembled at LSU would look like in its season opener against Southeastern and had to like what they saw in an impressive 94-63 victory. It didn’t take long to notice the increase in talent thanks to an excellent recruiting class brought in by Will Wade. The Tigers jumped out to a 10-0 lead and Southeastern didn’t score its first basket until four minutes into the contest. Of the newcomers, Naz Reid made the biggest splash in the season debut. Reid scored 10 of the Tigers’ first 19 points, as he ran the floor like a large Tremont Waters. The 6-foot-10 forward even showed range with a 3-pointer as he led the Tigers with 17 points. The physical Emmitt Williams displayed a lot of hops too (he made 5-of-7 attempted field goals) while Kavell Bigby-Williams gave LSU fans a little taste of his wide block radius.
One more quick note about these new-look Tigers: The difference in depth is staggering. When you see Daryl Edwards, a player who made multiple starts last year, enter the game as the eighth man off the bench, it really dawns on you just how different this year’s group is from last season’s squad. Wade subbed frequently, using every bit of his talented bench. Nine different players logged 10 minutes or more in the blowout win. We’re only one game in, but there’s a legitimate possibility this could be one of LSU’s deepest teams ever.
LSU led 48-18 at the half on 59-percent shooting. Because LSU has so many athletic, capable scorers, you’re going to have nights where players like Tremont Waters, Darius Days and Ja’Vonte Smart have low point totals. And in last night”s case, their low scoring wasn’t a reflection of a poor outing. Those who watched the game more than likely came away very impressed with Smart’s performance. He was well balanced with 10 points, two assists, four rebounds and one steal. While players like Reid, Williams, Waters and Marlon Taylor (a junior college transfer that showed the ability to create his own shot with 15 points) made eye-popping plays, other players turned into facilitators, or dare I say role players. What was most enjoyable about watching a player like Skylar Mays, who averaged more than 11 points per game last year, was his unselfishness. Mays didn’t force the issue and for the most part made the most of each possession, while the newbies flashed. Mays also displayed that stellar defense Tiger fans saw from him last year, and really the entire team fed off of solid defense. LSU scored 24 points off of turnovers in the victory.
No one enjoyed LSU’s defensive presence more than Wade. With every defensive stop, you could see Wade clapping and cheering on the Tigers. If you’ll recall, the Tigers struggled defensively last season, and Wade made it a point of emphasis to get tougher with more defensive stops. LSU forced 12 turnovers in the first half alone and scored 13 points off of turnovers. Of course, LSU wasn’t perfect in the game. The Tigers did shoot poorly from 3-point range (6-of-24), and when the competition ramps up LSU will need to shoot better than that from downtown. Meanwhile, Southeastern got a shot in the arm in the second half when Parker Edwards entered the game and scored a remarkable 25 points in seven minutes. Edwards hit six 3-pointers for the Lions.
Up next for the Tigers is another home matchup against UNC Greensboro at 7 p.m. The game will be viewable on SECN+, just like last night’s contest.
LSU’s Lady Tigers also started their season on a high note with a 66-52 victory against Sam Houston State. A seven-point second quarter for the Tigers allowed Sam Houston to get back in the game and actually trail by only three points at the half. However, LSU pulled away in the second half thanks to an efficient performance from Ayana Mitchell, who led the Tigers with 20 points. For a full recap of LSU’s win, check out LSU’s press release.
Turning to football, the second CFP Rankings were unveiled last night with LSU taking a smaller than anticipated drop in the polls. The Tigers checked in at No. 7 on the list, which tells you how highly the committee values LSU’s strength of schedule. Here’s how CFP committee chair Rob Mullens explained LSU remaining so high: “Well, obviously a loss to No. 1 Alabama was seen by the committee, but LSU does have the most wins against ranked top 25 teams from this ranking this week. You know, they did beat Auburn, Georgia and Mississippi State. So, the committee weighed that heavily with their only losses being to Alabama and on the road to Florida. So, with that strong defense, still felt they were a good team.” I’m sure many of you are wondering if this means LSU’s playoff chances are still alive. Well, technically, yes, although LSU would need a ton of help. What it does make very obtainable, though, is a Sugar Bowl berth, which I think we all can agree would be pretty sweet!
A half-dozen tidbits in closing:
• In football recruiting news, cornerback Jay Ward of Moultrie, Ga. announced his de-commitment from Kentucky yesterday. The significance for LSU fans? Corey Raymond has been making a big push for Ward and he visited LSU for the Bama game. Something to keep an eye on.
• Both John Battle and Breiden Fehoko were missing for the second straight day at LSU’s practice yesterday. Orgeron said Battle is “questionable” to play at Arkansas after suffering an ankle injury early in Saturday’s loss to Alabama. Derrick Dillon returned to practice Tuesday but was wearing a gold no-contact jersey. For a full report on LSU’s practice, check out The Advocate’s write-up here.
• For your reading pleasure, here’s a realistic view of LSU’s current offensive line situation. We forget it was less than a year ago when Ed Orgeron emphasized the Tigers’ need to get better up front. This article by And The Valley Shook touches on LSU’s work-in-progress offensive line: Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day ...and neither will LSU’s offensive line
• Thanks to all who voted in our poll yesterday. LSU fans are optimistic, yet realistic, about the Tigers’ chances in hoops this season. Over 48 percent of the 2,500-plus who voted said LSU would make the tournament, while 38 percent said the Tigers would make a Sweet 16 appearance.
• Now, I don’t know much about soccer so don’t expect us to start covering it regularly, but I want to give a big shoutout to LSU for beating Arkansas for the SEC Tournament title Sunday. The Tigers will host Boston in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at 1 p.m. Sunday at LSU.
• Tiger fans familiar with Fayetteville, please check out the following Reader Comment and see if you can help out this reader and all Tiger fans planning on making it out to this week’s game.
Reader Comment: My brother, myself, and our wives are heading up to Fayetteville for the game, and this will be our first trip there and we know nothing about the area, where to go, or what to do before the game and was hoping maybe you or some of your readers could offer us some ideas. I remember in past posts that you would often ask the readers to send in places to go and things to do for the Tiger fans traveling to the away games and list their responses in a subsequent post. Any chance that you could ask this in tomorrow’s post, and post the replies Thursday?
11/06/18 5:30 am CST
Good Morning, Tiger Fans,
TUESDAY TIDBITS: YOUR DAILY DOSE OF TIGER NEWS DELIVERED IN A BAKER’S DOZEN QUICK HITTERS
1. It’s Game Day, folks! That’s right, LSU basketball begins tonight with Coach Will Wade’s men’s team hosting Southeastern State at the PMAC. Tip-off is set for no later than 7:30 pm CT, approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of the LSU Lady Tigers’ season opener against Sam Houston State which begins at 5:30. Both games will be streamed online via SECN+ and the Watch ESPN app. To help prepare you for the season, here’s a “Boot Up” podcast hosted by Cody Worsham in which he sits down with Coach Wade for a 30-minute conversation on the season ahead.
2. LSU’s men enter the season nationally ranked (No. 23) for the first time since the 2015-16 season and expectations haven’t been this high since the Dale Brown years. Of course, the high expectations for the team stem from the transformation fiery head coach Will Wade brought to the team in his first season and the phenomenal recruiting class he brought in this year. I had the pleasure of visiting with Coach Wade for a few minutes Saturday during a tailgate party and asked him which single player might excite fans the most. After a thoughtful pause, he named freshman Emmitt Williams. Asked if there’s anything surprising I can tell Tiger fans about the team, he said that three freshmen will probably start. Stay tuned for a full report on the game in tomorrow’s update, thanks to Jake Martin who will be helping out with our basketball coverage again this season.
3. Before moving on with football news, please take a moment to share your expectations for LSU men’s basketball by voting in our online poll. LSU is coming off an 18-win season a year ago in which the Tigers advanced to the second round of the NIT. This year’s Tigers are young but talented after the LSU staff brought in the No. 4 ranked recruiting class in the nation. So, today’s poll question is, “How far will this year’s LSU basketball team go?” NIT Tournament? NCAA Tournament? Sweet 16? Elite 8? Final Four?
4. For LSU football fans and players still reeling from Saturday’s loss, this week’s road game against Arkansas can’t get here soon enough. That contest is set to kick off at 6:30 p.m. and will be televised by the SEC Network. The early betting line has LSU as a 17-point favorite.
5. The early forecast in Fayetteville calls for temperatures in the lower 30s by the game’s end, and LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is fired up about it. In yesterday’s player interviews, he called that “football weather” and laughed at the idea of quarterbacks wearing sleeves or gloves. “Those guys are probably the from the south,” he joked.
6. On a more serious note, Burrow said he knows the importance of the next three games with a NY6 Bowl still well within reach. “That’s what we’re playing for,” he said. “It does sit in the back of our mind, but if you focus on that, you can lose track of the day to day, and you can’t do that because you don’t get better. If we don’t get better, we’re going to lose a game.”
7. Before player interviews, Coach Ed Orgeron met with the media and shared his own thoughts on getting better. He said the top three things they need to do are: 1. Coach better; 2. Execute better; and 3. Build more depth in the trenches. That was a welcome contrast to what he said immediately following the game when he emphasized the need for better linemen, something that was perceived by many as throwing his guys under the bus.
8. Asked about personnel for the upcoming game, Orgeron said they will keep the right tackle competition between Austin Deculus and Adrian Magee open in practice this week. As for safety John Battle who left the game after suffering an injury on Alabama’s first possession, Orgeron said he’s questionable for the game.
9. Asked to assess offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger’s performance so far this season, Orgeron replied, “I think he's done an excellent job. For us to beat Georgia by 20 points, I thought it was a great game plan against Georgia, it was excellent. I thought the comeback victory against Auburn was excellent I forgot how many points we put on Miami, 33 points on Miami, I think he’s done a tremendous job there.”
10. With only three games left in the regular season, several players are in line to receive redshirts due to the new NCAA rule that allows a player to participate in up to four games and not lose his redshirt eligibility. With that in mind, Orgeron was asked if he’s given any thought to giving quarterback Myles Brennan some reps. Orgeron’s response confirmed that Brennan was nursing a slight injury earlier in the season at times when he could have seen action (something I alluded to after the Ole Miss game) and that all of the other games were too tight to put him in. He didn’t reveal any specific plans to get Brennan playing time this season, but did say there are several players that can get reps and still get redshirted.
11. While on the topic, here’s a good article by 247Sports that lists eight freshmen who have not played in a game and are set to redshirt, as well as four who have played in no more than four games and still can redshirt.
12. One game in which several potential redshirts should receive action is the game against Rice in two weeks. It was announced yesterday that the game will kickoff from Tiger Stadium at 6:30 p.m on ESPNU. LSU’s regular-season finale against Texas A&M will also be a night game and will kickoff at 6:30 pm CT in College Station. It will be televised by the SEC Network.
13. That’s it for now. I’m running out of recipes to share with you for the non-sports “lagniappe” portion of our weekly tidbits, so instead I’ll remind you of this tried and true Crawfish Étouffée recipe I posted a while back and tweeted about last night. And on a more important note, here’s a reminder to go out and exercise your right to vote today. It’s one of our greatest privileges and responsibilities, and should never be taken lightly.
Have a great day, Tiger Fans.
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