BATON ROUGE, La. — If there’s a game the LSU basketball team needs to win, it’s tonight’s. Which is fitting, because it’s also a game that the team absolutely should win.
After a home loss to Vanderbilt to open up conference play last week, the LSU basketball team (8-4, 0-1 SEC) travels to Columbia, Mo., tonight to take on the Missouri Tigers (5-7, 0-0). Missouri is the only team in the SEC with a losing record and scores the second-fewest points per game in the conference at 70.4.
That said, Missouri isn’t a bad defensive team. Missouri has held six of its 12 opponents under 70 points this season. And despite horrible losses to teams like Lipscomb, Eastern Illinois and N.C. Central, Missouri also took Xavier to overtime and only lost by one point, proving that when the team is on, it can compete with quality opponents.
“We know it’ll certainly be a challenge just like everything else,” LSU basketball coach Johnny Jones said. “Getting into conference play is a little bit different. I think you can throw records out of the window in terms of preseason and pre-conference play, including Missouri.”
For LSU, this will be the Tigers’ second game since dismissing starting power forward Craig Victor for violating team rules. In his stead, expect a heavy dose of forwards Aaron Epps and Wayde Sims. Epps is likely going to start, but Sims played significant minutes versus Vanderbilt and knocked down four 3-pointers to prove his ability as a court-stretching big.
In each of their last two games, the Tigers have allowed their opponents to make 16 3-pointers. Given that Missouri averages 5.7 made 3-pointers per game, that likely won’t be a threat tonight. But it is a trend worth monitoring.
LSU basketball tonight
Projected starting 5
Missouri vs. LSU
When: 8 p.m. CT
Where: Mizzou Arena, Columbia, Mo.
Watch: SEC Network
Listen: LSU Radio Network