Yay! There's a sport at which LSU isn't very good!
Yeah. LSU was recently voted the consensus number 12 SEC school in the SEC power poll from blogs that matter. That's gotta be pretty damning to our chances to beat them tomorrow. Yeah. I meant that. No. You didn't read it wrong.
But even though a loss to the hapless Tigers is exactly what the sports gods want, it's unlikely. Here's why. LSU has already lost four SEC games by 17, 9, 14, and 4. And they haven't played a team ranked in the top six in that ballot yet. The teams that have beaten them by those point differentials are Alabama, South Carolina, Florida, and Auburn respectively. Not exactly a murderer's row as far as the SEC race goes.
You have to like the Rebels' chances in this one. We've beaten every team (save for MSU) that we were supposed to beat.
While Storm Warren and Tasmin Mitchell both present matchup problems, as 6'7" 225 pound forwards, Warren is foul prone and Mitchell can't win the game by himself. Seriously. Tasmin Mitchell scored 38 points in the Tigers' 84-80 loss to Auburn. That means the rest of the team combined to outscore Mitchell by just two. Mitchell is really everything to this team, as their leading in points, steals, 3-point shooting, and rebounds. Luckily, the Rebs have shown the ability to stop opponents' best players of late (well... really only last game.) Still, Mitchell doesn't have Downey's speed so, in theory, he should be easier for Polynice and Graham to take turns guarding. Really, if we can limit him to 20 points or less, we shouldn't have any trouble with this one.
LSU's only guard of note is Junior Bo Spencer, who averages 15 points per game. However, in SEC games Spencer has only scored 13, 14, 6, and 12 points despite seeing 37, 38, 30, and 40 minutes. Those point totals are fine, but they're not frightening to me. That being said, Spencer could go all "Dee Bost" on us and score a seaon-high against the Rebels.
Defensively, the Rebels could have a little trouble against the Tigers, especially if they go with the zone teams have been throwing at us lately. Warren and Mitchell are both long and rangy players who make it tough to penetrate. That being said, they haven't done much in terms of steals or blocks this season and are turning the ball over a good bit. That will likely spell disaster against the Rebs, who have won the turnover battle against every team they've faced in SEC play outside of Tennessee. We average two more blocks and two more steals a game on the season than the Tigers, and that number could grow with a solid defensive effort. I look for Reggie Buckner and Terrance Henry to play pretty well down low on defense and Deaundre Cranston to be a step behind Warren and Mitchell. Of course that means that Cranston will get more minutes than Buckner and Henry combined, but whatever. We just need a win.
Ole Miss 75
What's your prediction?