The Gamecocks take on LSU today as the first part of a two-game home stand. This--along with the upcoming Vandy game--are key for the 'Cocks, as we will then have to play a tough stretch of games--at Ole Miss and Florida and Kentucky at home--for which we'll need confidence and a cushion of wins in case we fail to win any of the tougher games.
LSU Tigers Capsule
Record: 9-6 (0-1)
Good Wins: Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Bad Losses: Utah Utes; the Tigers also have a few near escapes against other weaker competition
Team Strengths: Scoring defense (65.4 pg for 94th nationally);
Team Weaknesses: Scoring offense (65.7 pg for 258th nationally); FG percentage (42.3% for 241st); Three-Point Shooting; Turnover Margin (-.7 pg for 220th)
Season Thus Far: The Tigers were expected to suffer a drop-off from last season's 27-win team because they lost a lot of firepower, particularly star forward Marcus Thornton and a large cast of key role players. Those predictions have played themselves out, as the Tigers have struggled thus far to a 9-6 record. However, most of those losses came against good teams, as LSU deserves credit for scheduling a very stiff OOC slate. This team is probably better than its record. The Tigers opened SEC play with a home loss to the streaking Alabama Crimson Tide.
What to Expect: Tigers coach Trent Johnson likes to slow the game down and emphasizes smart, fundamentally sound half-court play. His team will look to disrupt the rhythm of the Gamecocks' more up-tempo style. Intelligent, mistake-free play and forcing the Tigers out of their comfort zone--rather than vice-versa--will be key if the 'Cocks are to win.
Prediction: 2-4 point Carolina victory