BATON ROUGE, La. — Bad might get worse tonight when the LSU basketball team takes the floor.
Losers of three conference games in a row, all by 15 or more points, the LSU basketball team hits the road today to face the Auburn Tigers.
Auburn has the same 1-4 conference record as LSU, Johnny Jones’ squad might have a more difficult task than usual tonight. It might play without leading scorer Antonio Blakeney.
Blakeney injured his right ankle in the last minute of action of Saturday’s 81-66 loss to Alabama. As a result, Blakeney was limited in practice this week. He was evaluated Tuesday, and a final determination was expected ahead of Wednesday’s game.
Even if Blakeney does play, he likely won’t be able to go the 33 minutes he averages. No SEC guard has played more minutes per game this season than Blakeney.
Despite what might be the biggest absence LSU can afford, Jones said he want his players to focus on playing Auburn.
“We’ve got to prepare as if you’re going to have everyone and if you don’t have them other guys have to step up,” Jones said. “You have to get ready for that as well. It’s not something that we harp on. We just have to get ready to play at a certain level and be able to compete.”
Blakeney’s 17.1 points per game lead LSU and rank No. 5 in the SEC. Blakeney is also LSU’s second-leading rebounder with 5 per game and leads LSU in 3-pointers and free-throws made and attempted.
If Blakeney is unable to go, expect added contributions from Brandon Sampson and Kieran Hayward. Sampson was a starter for most of LSU’s season before losing his job two games ago to lineup changes. A sophomore, Sampson averages 10.9 points in 27.3 minutes per game.
LSU basketball tonight
Projected starting 5 if Blakeney can’t play
LSU @ Auburn
When: 7:30 p.m. CT
Where: Auburn Arena, Auburn, Ala.
TV: SEC Network
Radio: LSU Sports Radio Network and 98.1 Baton Rouge