LSU (12-5, 3-2) aims to exorcise its Coleman Coliseum demons tonight in Tuscaloosa, taking on a struggling Alabama team (8-10, 2-3) that’s lost two in a row in league play.
The Crimson Tide is, however, 2-1 in SEC home games this season, having defeated Vanderbilt and Mississippi State before falling 68-62 to No. 7 Florida on Thursday.
Tip-off in Tuscaloosa is set for 7 p.m., and ESPN2 will have the live television broadcast.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS
LSU (12-5, 3-2)
G Anthony Hickey (5-11, 182, Jr.) – 8.4 ppg, 3.2 apg, 2.3 spg
G Malik Morgan (6-4, 199, So.) – 4.9 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.3 apg
F Shavon Coleman (6-5, 195, Sr.) – 8.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.2 spg
F Jordan Mickey (6-8, 220, Fr.) – 13.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 3.6 bpg
F Johnny O’Bryant (6-9, 256, Jr.) – 14.4 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 51.1% FGs
Alabama (8-10, 2-3)
G Trevor Releford (6-0, 190, Sr.) – 18.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.9 apg
G Algie Key (6-4, 195, Jr.) – 4.8 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.4 apg
G Rodney Cooper (6-6, 215, Jr.) – 7.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.9 apg
F Shannon Hale (6-8, 220, Fr.) – 6.9 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 47.8% FGs
C Carl Engstrom (7-1, 265, Jr.) – 2.1 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 0.6 bpg
Publisher’s Note: The following is a game advance provided by LSU basketball publicist Kent Lowe.
LSU, winners of two straight home games and three-of-four to get to 12-5 overall and 3-2 in the SEC, is trying to win for the third time on the road this year, including its second in the conference. Alabama is 8-10 on the season and 2-3 after losing Thursday night at home to Florida, 68-62.
The Tigers have defeated Vanderbilt, 81-58, last Saturday and Missouri, 77-71, on Tuesday. Johnny O’Bryant III had a double double in the Vanderbilt game of 22 points and 12 rebounds and added 16 points on Tuesday. Senior Shavon Coleman had his season-high of 19 points in the win over Missouri and freshman Jordan Mickey had his fifth double double of the year with 14 points and a season-high equally 13 rebounds.
The Tide is led by Trevor Releford, who is averaging 18.1 points a game. Retin Obasohan also averaged in double figures for Alabama (12.2) but he did not play against Florida and according to media accounts is a game-time decision for Saturday’s game.
“We’re looking forward to getting back out on the road after a two-game home stand against a good Vanderbilt team and a very good Missouri team,” said LSU men’s basketball coach Johnny Jones. “We’re looking forward to playing a very tough Alabama team who has been very good at home and have probably played one of the most difficult schedules in our conference and in preparation for conference play. It will be a great challenge for us on Saturday on the road.”
Alabama and LSU split last year’s games with each team winning on the home floor. LSU won in Baton Rouge, 97-94, in triple overtime after coming from 10 back after the final media timeout. Alabama has won three-of-the last five in the series and are known to play a tough physical game under fifth-year head coach Anthony Grant.
“I think (Alabama) has done a tremendous job in having the caliber players and the makeup of a team that’s capable of challenging you year in and year out,” Jones said. “You can go back for years and list the guards that they’ve had. They’ve had post players over the years that have always competed really well in our league. They were notorious for winning the conference tournament for years because of the depth of the team they’ve had.”