Thursday, November 07, 2019

LSU Preview

So BG makes its first foray into P5 land since we played Wisconsin back in the Orr Times.  The Falcons have played some teams that would qualify as P5 if basketball had such a thing--such as UC and Xavier.  However, this is the first major conference team.

And they are a good one.  Last year, they won the SEC and made the Sweet Sixteen.  Of course, you are aware of the coaching controversy with Will Wade--which appeared to be a shitshow on everyone's part--but he's back now and on the bench at LSU.

This will be their regular season opener.  Blue Ribbon picks them to be 8th in the SEC this year but kenpom has them in a grouping behind Kentucky and Florida.

They lost 3 starters off that team.  They return two guards who were all-SEC pre-season...Skylar Mayes who is first team (13.4 PPG) and Javante Smart, who is second team (11.1 PPG as a FR).  They have also added a 6'9" 5-star FR big man named Trendon Watford.  Wade told Blue Ribbon that Watford could play anywhere from 1-5.  Also, they traveled to Spain and Watford went with the team, so he has played with them a little bit.

He will be interesting to watch. 

LSU was the #12 most efficient offense in D1 last year at 1.18 per possession.  Interesting, they were not a great shooting team (#149) or at protecting the ball (#138).  They were, however, #9 at offensive rebounding and #64 at getting to the line and #35 at FT%.  They were downright poor from 3FG, but made up for it by making 52% over the 2FGs, probably assisted by those offensive rebounds...and forcing turnovers, which they did on one-in-five opponent possessions, which is in the top 20% of the country.

Wade worked with Shaka Smart and my understanding is he pressures half-court like Louisville did under Rick Pitino.  They were #59 in the nation in defense last year.  In addition to the turnovers, they were above average in defending the shot and about average in not putting opponents on the line.  They defended the 2FG and the 3FG effectively.

They played at 70 possessions per game, which is above average.  According to the local paper, they are switching to a motion offense rather than using ball screens to break down defenses.

Anyway, that's a preview of the Tigers, who very likely are a tournament team.  It will be interesting to see how BG reacts.  You'd expect to see BG bring their very best game and try to pressure the Tigers, much as they did with St. John's this year.  It won't be easy--this is a good team, but things like this do happen.

Geaux Falcons!

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