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The battle of the tigers is going down, and it is going to be an exciting game. LSU and Auburn are very evenly matched and hungry for that first conference victory. Both of these teams score well, but Auburn gives up about ten more points a game than LSU. With that being said, Auburn’s schedule has been more difficult than LSU’s schedule.
This game will come down to defense. We know that both of these teams can score, so defense will be the deciding factor. Auburn has 7’1” forward Walker Kessler anchoring their defense. Kessler will be the difference-maker for Auburn and help lead them to victory.
Auburn beats LSU 68-63, Under 140 points.
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|Will Wade||Head Coach||Bruce Pearl|
|12-0 (0-0, 1st in SEC)||Standing||11-1 (0-0, 2nd in SEC)|
|Leader (Per Game)|
|Tari Eason (16.3)||PPG||Jabari Smith (16.2)|
|Darius Days (8.5)||RPG||Walker Kessler (7.2)|
|Xavier Pinson (4.7)||APG||Wendell Green Jr. (4.8)|
|Jaylin Jackson-Posey (2.0)||SPG||K.D. Johnson (2.0)|
|Tari Eason (1.4)||BPG||Walker Kessler (3.7)|
|Efton Reid (.556)||FG%||Walker Kessler (.551)|
|Mwani Wilkinson (.429)||3P%||Lior Berman (.667)|
This game could really go either way, but LSU is facing a very talented Auburn offense. LSU is undefeated, so they have proven they know how to win, but the real test begins with this conference battle.
LSU has a strong, talented offense, but they are not quite on the level of Auburn. Auburn is averaging a little over 80 points per game against some difficult unranked opponents. LSU needs to lockdown the Auburn offense when it matters and create a lot of turnovers. They are averaging almost 13 steals per game. If they continue to steal the ball efficiently, they should have a shot at limiting Auburn’s scoring.
LSU will struggle to attack the hoop. They will be facing Auburn forward Walker Kessler. Kessler is third in the NCAA with 3.8 blocks per game. LSU will need to adjust, move the ball well, and find open shots. This LSU team shoots pretty well from the field, but they are going to need to step up their three-point shooting this game.
Auburn is the underdog, but I believe they are the better team of these two. They have a strong offense with a few scorers and a pretty good defense. In order for Auburn to win, they need to do some of the same things that LSU needs to do.
For starters, Auburn needs to pass the ball and create open shots. Auburn averages 15.9 assists per game. That is a pretty good amount of team assists, but it is not in the top 50 of the NCAA. Auburn needs to have around 20 assists this game. Many of those assists will need to go to Walker Kessler, as he is the tallest player on either of these teams.
On defense, they need to use their height as an advantage. Auburn is a little bit taller than LSU and needs to remember that. Since they are taller, they can get more rebounds and blocks. If they outrebound LSU, they will likely win the game.
This was a hard call to make. Forwards Darius Days and Tari Eason are having similarly good seasons, but Darius Days is playing a little over five minutes more per game than Tari Eason. Days leads LSU in rebounds per game (8.5), averages the second-most minutes per game (28.5), and the second-most points per game (15.0). Days is also a very consistent shooter, hitting 44.2% of his fielf-goals, 38.2% of his three-point field goals, and 75% of his free throws.
Most of Days’ tasks in this game are pretty straightforward. The 6’7” senior needs to grab rebounds and shoot well. He also needs to defend Walker Kessler on defense and avoid getting blocked by him on offense. LSU will probably win the game if Days holds off Kessler and grabs rebounds.
How many times have I mentioned Walker Kessler in this preview? Probably too many. Walker Kessler is the tallest player on his team at 7’1”, but he does not play center. However, he uses his height well and leads his team in rebounds per game (7.2) and blocks per game (3.7). He only scored 9.5 points per game but is hitting 55.1% of his shots.
Kessler is an effective player on both sides of the floor and a tough matchup. If he uses his height advantage of the forwards guarding him, he should score well and help to limit LSU’s scoring. Kessler is the key to Auburn winning their first conference game.
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|No. 16 LSU vs No. 11 Tigers Information|
|What||No. 16 LSU vs No. 11 Auburn|
|Where||Auburn Arena, Auburn, Alabama|
|When||Wednesday, December 29, 7:00 PM EST|
|How to Watch||ESPN2|
Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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