Tennessee (9-4) at LSU (9-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, January 7, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Pete Maravich Assembly Center (13,215) -- Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Television: ESPN. Home Record: UT 7-1, LSU 6-1. Away Record: UT 0-2, LSU 1-1. Neutral Record: UT 2-1, LSU 2-1. Conference Record: UT 0-0, LSU 0-0. Series Record: Tennessee leads, 61-43.
GAME NOTES: The Tennessee Volunteers and the LSU Tigers open up SEC action on Tuesday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
Tennessee is riding high on a three-game winning streak coming into this matchup, most recently defeating Tusculum on its home floor on Saturday afternoon, 98-51, in its most dominating victory of the season. The Vols' run of late has allowed them to improve to 9-4 overall, although they have lost both of their true road games, falling to Wichita State (70-61) and Xavier (67-63).
LSU had been winners of a season-high five straight games heading into its most recent contest, but it fell on the wrong end of 74-70 home decision to Rhode Island on Saturday. The Tigers are still an impressive 9-3 on the season, which includes a 6-1 ledger in Baton Rouge.
Tennessee has beaten LSU on five straight occasions, most recently 82-72 on Feb. 19, 2013, to take a 61-43 lead in the all-time series.
The Vols did what was expected of them against their Division II foe over the weekend, as they shot a lofty 57.4 percent from the field, held Tusculum to just 26.4 percent and held commanding advantages in both the turnover (14-6) and rebounding (41-28) battles en route to the 47-point triumph. Pacing six teammates in double figures was Jordan McRae, who poured in 19 points on 7- of-10 from the field. Jeronne Maymon (16 points, seven rebounds) and Jarnell Stokes (10 points, eight rebounds, two blocks) made their mark in the frontcourt, Antonio Barton and D'Montre Edwards scored 14 and 12 points, respectively, and Darius Thompson dished out nine assists.
Tennessee has grown accustomed to well-rounded performances this season. Not only does it score 76.7 ppg, but it allows just 62.8 ppg on 42 percent from the floor. Its efficiency extends to the glass (+8.5 rebounding margin) and in the passing lanes (+3.1 turnover margin) as well. McRae (18.9 ppg) is one of the SEC's premiere guards, while Stokes (13.8 ppg, 9.2 rpg) and Maymon (11.1 ppg, 8.2 rpg) are an imposing duo at forward.
The Tigers trailed Rhode Island by double figures early in the second half of their most recent game, and while they managed to climb back to take a brief three-point lead with under 10 minutes to play, the Rams used an 8-0 run later in the frame to pull away. Even though the home team was able to force 22 URI turnovers, it could not take advantage, as it shot just 42.2 percent from the field and 63.2 percent from the foul line in the four-point loss. Jordan Mickey shined in defeat, scoring 21 points on 10-of-15 from the field while adding four blocks and three steals on the other end of the floor. Andre Stringer stuffed the stat sheet with 13 points, seven assists, six rebounds and five steals, while Johnny O'Bryant III netted 11 points.
On the season, LSU shoots just shy of 46 percent from the floor en route to 78.0 ppg, which is 10.8 ppg more than it allows. O'Bryant III (14.8 ppg) and Mickey (13.9 ppg) lead the charge from the low post, with each shooting greater than 52 percent from the field and grabbing at least seven boards per contest. Mickey also swats away 3.6 bpg. Stringer (12.5 ppg) is the only other player in double figures, although Anthony Hickey (9.3 ppg, 2.5 spg), Shavon Coleman (8.8 ppg) and Jarell Martin (8.0 ppg) are also regular contributors.
This matchup should be a back-and-forth contest throughout, especially considering each side's respective strength in the frontcourt. However, even though LSU slipped up at home its last time out, it has still been strong at the Maravich Center and should be able to dismiss a Tennessee squad which has yet to win on the road.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: LSU 72, Tennessee 70
01/07 10:32:58 ET