LSU (6-2) at Texas Tech (7-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, December 18, 9 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: United Spirit Arena (15,000) -- Lubbock, Texas. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: LSU 4-0, TTU 6-0. Away Record: LSU 0-1, TTU 0-2. Neutral Record: LSU 2-1, TTU 1-1. Conference Record: LSU 0-0, TTU 0-0. Series Record: Texas Tech leads, 3-1.
GAME NOTES: The LSU Tigers and the Texas Tech Red Raiders will both try to continue their respective strong starts to the season on Wednesday night when the non-conference foes meet up at United Spirit Arena.
After nearly a two-week layoff since downing Butler in the third-place game of the Old Spice Classic on Dec. 1 (70-68 in OT), LSU returned to action at home last Saturday night and dismissed ULM, 61-54. The Tigers are now 6-2 on the season, but they lost their only true road game of the year to UMass on Nov. 12, 92-90.
Texas Tech has also been impressive on the young campaign, boasting a 7-3 record, which includes wins in all six of its home games. The Red Raiders won for the third time in four games on Sunday afternoon when they made easy work of Central Arkansas, 79-57.
The Red Raiders lead the all-time series over LSU, 3-1, but while the teams met in every year from 1957-60, they haven't faced off since.
LSU held off ULM by seven points the last time out, but the final score was much closer than the matchup proved to be, as ULM ran off a meaningless 11-0 run to end the game. LSU shot a modest 43.4 percent from the field but held its opponent to a lowly 35.7 percent. Jordan Mickey was the spark plug in the victory on both ends of the floor, as he netted 25 points on 9-of-13 from the field to go with nine rebounds and five blocks. Andre Stringer was also solid with 10 points.
The Tigers are usually much more efficient in the scoring department, as they shoot greater than 46 percent from the field for 78.8 points per game, which is more than enough to support their stingy defensive numbers (.395, 68.6 ppg). They are also one of the strongest rebounding teams in the country, owning a +9.0 margin on the glass. Johnny O'Bryant III (14.9 ppg, 9.5 rpg) and Mickey (14.8 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 3.9 bpg) comprise an outstanding frontcourt duo, while Stringer (13.1 ppg) and Anthony Hickey (9.5 ppg) can also be relied upon for regular contributions.
The Red Raiders' most recent outing was never in question, as they shot 47.4 percent from the floor and 75 percent from the free-throw line while forcing Central Arkansas into 25 turnovers on their way to the 22-point triumph. Although no one scored more than Dejan Kravic's 13 points on the afternoon, 10 different players registered at least one field goal. Jordan Tolbert, Jaye Crockett and Toddrick Gotcher each netted 10 points, with Gotcher adding five assists and two steals as well.
Texas Tech's stellar season has been well represented in its stats, as it lives comfortably in the green in terms of scoring (+6.6), rebounding (+3.1) and turnover (+2.0) margins while boasting a strong .483 field goal percentage. Crockett (13.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg) and Tolbert (12.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg) carry the majority of the load from the interior, and each player shoots at greater than 60 percent efficiency. Turner (10.5 ppg) is the top threat at guard, although his 3-point field-goal percentage (.280) has plenty of room for improvement.
LSU is not battle-tested on the road this season, so heading into hostile territory in this one could be difficult. In the end though, the Tigers simply have more talent than the Red Raiders, which should help down the stretch.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: LSU 74, Texas Tech 71
12/18 10:31:03 ET