LSU basketball goes on the road again Saturday in search of its first conference win.
In fact when the Tigers and Bulldogs tip off in Athens (7 p.m. central, CST), both teams will be vying for their initial SEC victory in 2013 after each has gotten off to 0-3 starts in the league.
Georgia (6-10, 0-3) has been blown out of the water in two of its three meetings inside the league, dropping a 77-44 laugher at Florida before most recently losing 79-62 at Missouri. In between losing to those two ranked teams, Mark Fox’s Bulldogs lost by 11 (72-61) at home to Mississippi State.
Johnny Jones’ LSU team, 9-5 overall, also fell victim to Florida (74-52) but hung tight on the road at Auburn (68-63) and lost a heartbreaker in overtime to South Carolina (82-73) on Wednesday night.
To win Saturday, the Tigers will have to overcome what’s been a slow start on the road during the 2012-13 season. LSU’s only triumph away from the PMAC came Dec. 18 at UC-Irvine. The Bayou Bengals have lost their other three road games this campaign by an average of 9.3 points.
The Tigers will also have to slow down Georgia guards Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (team-high 16.8 points per game) and Vincent Williams, who scored 23 in the loss to Missouri off the bench.
"Well, I think (Vincent) Williams is really good,” Jones said this week. “He had a really big game against Missouri and he was explosive. Caldwell-Pope's really good, very crafty, and he was an All-American coming out of high school and he really hasn't disappointed. He's played extremely well and he's someone that we'll have to contend with and make sure that we try and contain him. Hopefully we can do a great job on him, because he's one of their main guys. They really look to him to get him going."
LSU is at or near full strength for the first time in weeks heading to Athens, with Johnny O’Bryant having regained some lift and Anthony Hickey back in the starting lineup and good graces.
Only senior forward Eddie Ludwig (injury to head) remains in question. Freshman guard Corban Collins has appeared somewhat limited after returning two games ago from an undisclosed injury, but all indications are he will again suit out for LSU.
The Tigers could use a win in the peach state as its next two opponents are Texas A&M and Kentucky.
Probable Starting Lineups
LSU (9-5, 0-3)
G Anthony Hickey (So., 5-11, 182) – 11.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 4.0 apg, 3.4 spg
G Andre Stringer (Jr., 5-10, 178) – 11.2 ppg, 2.1 apg, 39.0% 3s
G Charles Carmouche (Sr., 6-4, 187) – 9.9 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.9 apg, 2.1 spg
F Johnny O’Bryant (So., 6-9, 258) – 10.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 46.2% FGs
C Andrew Del Piero (Sr., 7-3, 254) – 5.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.7 bpg
Key Rotational Player: Shavon Coleman (Jr., 6-5, 195; averages 12.6 ppg and 8.3 rpg, both team highs)
Georgia (6-10, 0-3)
G Charles Mann (Fr., 6-4, 205) – 5.8 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 2.4 apg
G Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (So., 6-5, 205) – 16.8 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 2.4 spg
F Donte’ Williams (Jr., 6-9, 225) – 5.4 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.0 bpg
F Nemanja Djurisic (Jr., 6-8, 230) – 8.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.7 TO’s per game
C Tim Dixon (So., 6-9, 225) – 2.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 11.9 mpg
Key Rotational Player: G Vincent Williams (Sr., 6-0, 165; scored team-high 23 against Missouri)