11 AM PST -- Pete Maravich Assembly Center
Kenpom.com prediction: Cougs win 52-50 (58 possesions, 64 percent confidence)
|WSU - No. 25 Pomeroy||Vitals||LSU - No. 69 Pomeroy||Vitals|
|G||Taylor Rochestie (Sr.)||6-1/193||G||Bo Spencer (So.) ||6-1/180|
|G||Klay Thompson (Fr.)||6-6/187||G||Marcus Thornton (Sr.) ||6-4/198|
|F||Daven Harmeling (Sr.)||6-7/227||G||Garrett Temple (Sr.) ||6-6/195|
|F||Caleb Forrest (Sr.) ||6-8/223||F||Tasmin Mitchell (Jr.) ||6-7/230|
|C||Aron Baynes (Sr.)||6-10/250||C||Chris Johnson (Sr.) ||6-11/205|
This is a big game for a number of reasons for both teams. The Cougs badly need a solid nonconference win after missing chances against Pitt, Baylor and Gonzaga, while LSU simply needs some kind of win over someone of any strength whatsoever. Additionally, because the game is on national television on the four-letter network -- a Pac-10 team on ESPN? Who knew it was possible? -- both teams will be looking to show that they're for real. Intensity should be high.
Both teams took some time off for the holidays, so rust might play a factor here. That would seem to benefit LSU if the Cougs can't quickly find the range, since WSU's offensive efficiency (+.91) and LSU's defensive efficiency (+.94) are about as highly correlated to effective field goal percentage as they can get. (What the heck are those stats?)
All the more reason for the Cougs to pound the ball inside, I say.
How this game develops is anyone's guess. As we explored yesterday, we just don't know how good LSU is. I figure this is going to be a downright ugly game. LSU's length on the perimeter is going to disturb our guards, while the Tigers are going to settle for shooting a lot of contested jumpers against WSU's pack defense. Expect shooting percentages to be low, and the game to be in the 50s.
And expect the Cougs to win on the back of Aron Baynes.
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