Tennessee (16-13) at L-S-U (17-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 29th, 9:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Pete Maravich Assembly Center (13,215) -- Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Television: CSS/CST. Home Record: Tennessee 13-3, LSU 11-3. Away Record: Tennessee 2-8, LSU 4-7. Neutral Record: Tennessee 1-2, LSU 2-1. Conference Record: Tennessee 8-6, LSU 7-7. Series Record: Tennessee leads, 59-43.
GAME NOTES: Posturing for a possible first-round bye in the upcoming Southeastern Conference Tournament, the Pete Maravich Assembly Center becomes the backdrop for a key league matchup between the LSU Tigers and Tennessee Volunteers.
Tennessee rolled to a 73-64 win at South Carolina on Saturday in a wire-to- wire triumph. Trae Golden led all scorers with 21 points and Jordan McRae netted 16 alongside a career-best eight rebounds as the Volunteers improved to 8-6 in the SEC -- tied with Alabama for fourth place with two games remaining in the regular season. Tennessee shot 52.2 percent from the floor and got 14 points and eight rebounds from Jeronne Maymon en route to earning its sixth win in the last seven games.
LSU had its four-game win streak halted in untimely fashion, dropping a 72-48 decision at Ole Miss on Saturday. The Tigers fell to 7-7 in conference play as a result, meaning they would need to win both of their remaining games to have a shot at a bye. LSU's offense went south from the start, shooting a lowly 31.0 percent from the field and hitting just 4-of-23 on three-point attempts. The Tigers also had their issues at the foul line, going 8-of-14, while committing 15 turnovers. Storm Warren paced the visitors with 13 points off the bench.
Tennessee has won three straight games over the Tigers and owns a 59-43 advantage in the all-time series. LSU leads the series, 25-22, in Baton Rouge but last tasted a home victory versus the Vols back in 2007.
The Volunteers get a number of contributions for an improving offense. Overall, UT averages 68.8 points per game and shoots a decent percentage from the field (.445). The sophomore Golden is the Vols' top scoring option at 13.3 ppg, and he stands among the league leaders in assists with 4.6 per outing. Maymon is a solid second option at 12.6 ppg with a .571 shooting percentage while ranking among the SEC's elite rebounders with 8.0 per game. McRae and Cameron Tatum add depth at 9.2 and 8.3 ppg, respectively, while Skylar McBee averages 6.7 points and leads the club with 54 threes on 39.4 percent shooting. Jarnell Stokes has stepped up recently as well, posting 8.3 ppg thus far in 12 games. The defense does well to hold opponents to 65.1 ppg and a .414 shooting percentage, while the Vols' rebounding effort stands second in the SEC with a plus-3.4 margin.
The Tigers have a good makeup in striking an effective balance between offense and defense. LSU puts up 65.7 ppg but on only 40.8 percent shooting while opponents average 63.1 ppg on a 41.2 shooting percentage. Junior Justin Hamilton leads the team in both scoring at 13.2 ppg and rebounding with 7.2 per contest. Andre Stringer slots in next at 10.4 ppg while Anthony Hickey provides 9.1 ppg and a team-leading 3.8 assists. Ralston Turner chips in with his 8.9 point average and paces the club in three-pointers with 40 on 35.4 percent shooting. Hickey is a close second with 37 triples on 30.8 percent accuracy and Stringer has 36 threes with a 30.0 percent accuracy. The Tigers manage a decent edge on the boards at 37.2-36.2 with freshman Johnny O'Bryant III kicking in 6.8 rpg and the senior Warren 5.0 rpg to that end. Both Warren and O'Bryant add further depth with 8.4 and 8.3 point averages, respectively.
The Tigers certainly had an abrupt end to their winning streak while Tennessee has shown no signs of slowing down. Both teams are managing to get by without a true impact scorer, but the Vols pack a bigger collective punch right now at the offensive end.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tennessee 66, LSU 62
02/29 10:37:31 ET