BATON ROUGE, La. — The LSU basketball team is already on its longest SEC losing streak of the Johnny Jones era. And unless something changes tonight, that streak will continue.
The Tigers (9-9, 1-6 SEC) play host to the No. 25 Florida Gators in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center tonight, putting their five-game losing streak on the line. The 14-5 Gators are on a bit of a losing streak of their own as well, having lost two in a row after starting off 5-0 in conference play.
LSU doesn’t have much going for it in this game, but one thing to watch out for is that Canyon Barry, Florida’s second-leading scorer at 12.4 points per game, is questionable with an ankle injury.
Still, Florida presents an interesting challenge for LSU. The Gators have the No. 17 defense in the country, according to the KenPom rankings, and are the No. 15 overall team, seven spots ahead of the next-best team LSU has faced in 2016-17.
“That’s our goal, to go out and show we’re capable of competing, that we’ve improved, and showing we’ve gotten better,” LSU basketball coach Johnny Jones said of the Florida game. “There’s not a place to hopefully be able to get that turned around than here at home against a team that we really think is well balanced.”
Florida might be a balanced team, but LSU is dramatically less so. The Tigers average 76.1 points per game, ranking in the top half of the SEC. But their defense allows an SEC-worst 79.5 points per game. Among schools in Power 5 football conferences, only Arizona State is allowing more points per game (83.8) than LSU.
LSU’s 79.5 points per game ranks 323rd in the nation overall. That’s out of 351 teams.
Still, if there’s one reason to be excited, it’s sophomore guard Antonio Blakeney’s history versus Florida. Last year when the Tigers played host to the Gators, Blakeney had a career-high 32 points on 17 shots as the Tigers defeated the Gators.
A repeat performance from Blakeney might be the only thing that can earn the LSU basketball team a repeat outcome tonight.
LSU basketball tonight
Projected starting 5
LSU vs. Florida
Where: The Pete Maravich Assembly Center
When: 8 p.m. CT
TV: SEC Network
Radio: LSU Sports Radio Network and Eagle 98.1 Baton Rouge
Promotion: The first 2,000 fans will receive a commemorative Shaquille O’Neal jersey cap celebrating his induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame.