Tigers Open SEC Play Wednesday Night At Home Against Arkansas
BATON ROUGE – The LSU Tigers and the Arkansas Razorbacks have both posted 11-1 records this season.
Both teams are 8-0 on the season at home and 3-1 in neutral site games.
The Razorbacks will play their first true road game of the season on Wednesday night as two of the four 11-1 teams in the Southeastern Conference meet at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in an 8 p.m. contest that will open league play for both teams.
The game will be broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates (Guaranty Media flagship in Baton Rouge, Eagle 98.1 FM) with Chris Blair and former LSU head coach John Brady. The game will be televised on ESPN2 with Mike Morgan and Jon Sundvold on the call.
There are a limited amount of tickets remaining for the game at LSUTix.net. The upper concourse ticket windows will open at 7 p.m. at the Maravich Center. LSU students are admitted free of charge with a valid ID.
The Razorbacks come in at No. 9 in the Associated Press media poll and No. 7 in the Ferris Mowers Coaches Poll. Former LSU Associate Coach Eric Musselman is in his fourth year as the head coach of the Razorbacks.
The team’s only loss this year came against Creighton in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational, losing to Creighton, 90-87. The Razorbacks have won seven games since then, including an 85-51 win over UNC Asheville in their last outing on Dec. 21.
The Tigers lone loss came in the Cayman Islands in the finals of that tournament, 61-59, on Nov. 22 in a somewhat controversial finish as the clock operator did not start the clock on time and an LSU tying basket was disallowed. Since then LSU has won six straight games, including a 72-68 decision over East Tennessee State University, also on Dec. 21.
LSU is expected to go with the lineup that has started the last three games with Justice Hill and Cam Hayes at guards and KJ Williams, Derek Fountain and Adam Miller at forwards.
KJ Williams has had an outstanding season for the Tigers after coming over from Murray State where he was OVC Player of the Year. He is averaging 18.5 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.5 steals and is coming off his second 20-10 game of the season and his fifth double double with 28 points and 12 rebounds against ETSU. He needs 13 rebounds to top 1,000 career boards.
Adam Miller is also at double figures at 13.5 points per game while Hill averages 8.7 points, Hayes 8.8 points and Fountain 7.3 points. Hill leads the SEC in assist-to-turnover ratio at 3.13. He averages 4.2 assists per game, fourth in the league.
Arkansas is led by Ricky Council IV who averages 18.3 points per game with Nick Smith, Jr., at 12.6 and Anthony Black at 12.6 points per game. Both Council and Black shoot better than 50 percent from the field and the Razorbacks shoot at a 49.6 percent clip.
“When you look at their team, they are ranked in the top ten for a reason,” said LSU Coach Matt McMahon. “They are elite defensively. They are one of the best teams in America in forcing turnovers and they do a terrific job protecting the rim. Then on their offensive end, they are obviously very explosive. Ricky Council has been terrific this year, the Wichita State transfer, averaging 18 points a game. Anthony Black, a McDonald’s All-American at the point, is another elite player. You can go right down the line. I think for us, regardless of the opponent, we always approach it the same way. We have to defend together as a team and work as one unit out there on the floor. I don’t think it’s any secret our ability to guard and keep the ball in front one-on-one, we have to make great strides there, we just have not been good enough in those areas.”
Arkansas has forced 225 turnovers in the first 12 games of the season.
After Wednesday’s game the Tigers will be on the road next week with road games at Kentucky (Jan. 3) and Texas A&M (Jan. 7) before returning home to host Florida on Jan. 10.