Tennessee Volunteers vs. LSU Tigers: game preview

The 15-4 (3-1) LSU Tigers travel to Knoxville tonight to take on the 12-6 (3-1) Tennessee Volunteers. The Vols seek to recapture some of that Thompson-Boling magic against the well-rounded and tough Tigers.

Observations from the stats

Something's got to give, Groundhog Day edition. For the third game in a row, the Vols's highly-ranked scoring offense (81.2 PPG) runs into a brick wall scoring defense. The Tigers ranked 55th in the nation and are holding their opponents to 62.1 PPG. To make matters worse, LSU has the offense (59th in scoring) to go along with a great defense, thus putting them at 22nd in the nation in scoring margin.

Unlike Memphis, these guys can score from the perimeter. The Tigers hit 46.1% from the field and 38.6% from three-point range. Our defense has improved over the past several games, but honk if you don't think we're in for another long night against another guard.

And that, and that, and that, too? But wait, there's more! LSU also has better numbers in rebounds of all things. And assist-to-turnover ratio. And blocks, steals, turnovers, and turnover margin. Deep breath, y'all. This could very well be our fourth loss at home in five games.

LSU players to watch

Um, all of them? Four of five starters anyway. Marcus Thornton, Tasmin Mitchell, Chris Johnson, and Garrett Temple are all nationally ranked in some important category. With that many guys serving as key contributors, it's better to just bust out a chart:

PTS REB  AST TO STL BLK FG% FT% 3P%
Marcus Thornton
18.9
4.8
2.1
1.6
1.6
0.4
.483
.693
.398
Tasmin Mitchell
15.5
6.3
1.5
1.9
1.4
0.7
.549
.753
.429
Chris Johnson
7.8
7.6
1.4
1.3
0.5
2.3
.419
.714
.250
Garrett Temple
7.0
4.6
4.2
1.9
2.3
0.7
.389
.829
.326

Other Stuff

KenPom's prediction: Tennessee wins, 79-73, and has a 72% chance of winning. Hmm. Okay, well that's more like it.

Bullets!

  • Absent from that player chart above for LSU is Bo Spencer, who LSU lists as a "scoring guard." Well, who isn't?
  • The Tigers went almost eight minutes in the second half without scoring in a loss to Xavier on Saturday.
  • This is Trent Johnson's first year as the Tigers' head coach. He is not John Brady.
  • Marcus Thornton was last week's SEC Player of the Week. Against Mississipi State and Xavier, Thornton averaged 30.5 points on 55.5 percent shooting from the field
    and 53.3 percent shooting from three-point range. Somebody guard this guy. Make that somebodies.

And on to the stats:

KEY STATS COMPARISON
Tennessee logo
LSU logo
Category
Rank
Actual
Rank
Actual
Scoring Offense
11
81.2
59
75.7
Scoring Defense
300
74.3
55
62.1
Scoring Margin
81
6.9
22
13.6
Field-Goal Percentage
102
45.3
66
46.1
Field-Goal Percentage Defense
182
43.3
45
39.7
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game
172
6.2
198
5.9
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage
263
30.0
31
38.6
Three Pt FG Defense
257
0.358
87
0.323
Free-Throw Percentage
143
69.3
86
71.4
Rebound Margin
30
6.4
16
7.5
Assists Per Game
18
16.4
38
15.8
Assist Turnover Ratio
56
1.13
15
1.31
Blocked Shots Per Game
99
3.9
14
5.9
Steals Per Game
176
6.7
45
8.4
Turnovers Per Game
197
14.5
23
12.1
Turnover Margin
140
0.6
64
2.3
Personal Fouls Per Game
282
20.4
97
17.4

 

Well that doesn't look encouraging at all.

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH Tennessee logo
LSU logo
Category Player Rank Actual Player Rank Actual
Points PG Tyler Smith 81 17.7 Marcus Thornton 45 18.9
FG%       Tasmin Mitchell 40 54.9
3-Point FG PG            
3-Point FG%            
FT %            
Rebounds PG Wayne Chism 52 8.7      
Assists PG            
Blocks PG       Chris Johnson 36 2.3
Steals PG       Garrett Temple 31 2.3
Assist-TO
Ratio
Bobby Maze 81 1.97 Garrett Temple 52 2.14
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