NCAA Tournament Preview
2nd Round Edition
Texas A&M vs. LSU
Saturday, March 18th
4:50 CST (approx.)
Are we really looking at a newslet ter previewing Texas A&M s 2nd NCAA Tournament basketball game this year?
Well thats super cool, isn t it?
OK - Let s get into the nuts and bolts of this game.
The first thing that comes to mind with LSU as opposed to Syracuse is their athleticism. This team is MUCH more athletic than Syracuse and plays a contrasting style that gets out and pushes the tempo of the game and will likely see a major dose of man-to-man defense.
LSU comes into the game with a 24-8 overall record. They got to the 2nd round by knocking off a pesky Iona team by the score of 80-64 on Thursday night.
LSU is 1-3 vs. ranked teams this season with their only win coming against #13 West Virginia back in November. Much like A&M they are hot at the right time of the season in winning 8 of their last 9.
They dont have a tendency to blow people out , nor do they get blown out. Their 8 losses have come at an average of 5 points each. Their D-1 wins have come at an average of 12 points. Since February 1, that number has dipped to nearly 9 per game.
When looking at conferences, the SEC is very equivalent to the Big 12. LSU s st rength of chedule was 13th and bolstered by games vs. West Virginia (a 71-68 win in OT) and UConn (a 66-67 loss).
LSU s backcourt is best described as good but not great .
Manning the ball will be Darrel Mitchell, a 5 11 guard who is the team s 2nd leading scorer chipping in 17.3 per game while adding 4 boards and 4 assists.
My guess is that Gillispie will try to neutralize Mitchell with his best defender, Dominique Kirk.
If Mitchell proves to be too quick for Kirk, look for Law to pick him up.
Joining Mitchell in the backcourt is 6 5 freshman Garrett Temple. Garrett is an interesting guy on paper. He averages 33 minutes per game, but only 5 points, 2 boards and 3 dimes. What does he do the whole game?
Temple will obviously be picked up by whichever Aggie guard is not on Mitchell.
Advantage Push +/ - 0
Be afraid, be very afraid.
LSU s frontcourt is one of the best in the count ry due to four factors:
1.) A great big man acting as your anchor
2.) Size + Athleticism
3.) Depth off the bench
4.) Tyrus Thomas
If you have not heard of Glen Davis yet , it s probably t ime to go ahead and commit his name to
The 6'9" sophomore checks in at 310 pounds and is one of only a handful of players in the nation to average a double-double. Big Baby averages nearly 19 points and 10 boards per game. He is an absolute beast inside and Joe will have his hands full.
Joining Davis in the LSU starting frontcourt are:
Darnell Lazare - 6'8" 240 - Junior - 7 points 4 boards
Tasmin Mitchell - 6'7" 230 - Freshman - 12 points 5 boards
Pompey and Walker will have their hands full on the defensive end here also. Hopefully Walker canlockdown on Mitchell and force them to look to Lazara more often. AK and Martellus may also help out.
Not only are the LSU starting 3 very good, they also bring the SEC Freshman of the Year Tyrus Thomas off of the bench. Thomas is back from a high-ankle sprain that sidelined him late in the season.
His first game back was the Iona game on Thursday. Thomas averages 13 points and 9 rebounds per game. He is an ideal complement to Davis on the inside and when both guys are on the court at the same time they are extremely tough to defend.
One area where the Aggies may have a leg up is the fact that these guys are more offensively oriented than they are defensive minded. I am sure Gillispie will cook something up that can keep them offbalance.
Moderate Edge for the Tigers (+2)
LSU uses a very constant 8-man rotation with all 8 guys averaging more than 13 minutes per game.
What will set the benches apart is that the Tigers bring one of the most dynamic young players in thegame off of their bench in Tyrus Thomas (see above).
Joining Thomas off the bench are:
Magnum Rolle - 6' 10" 215 - Freshman - 2 points 2 boards 9 minutes
Ben Voogd - 6'1" 175 - Freshman - 1 point 1 board 13 minutes.
Bottom line is that if Thomas were not the 6th man for the Tigers the Aggies would have a nice leg up on the bench. The reality of the situation is that he does come off the bench and yes, he can be that good.
Minor Edge for the Tigers (+1)
John Brady is in his 9th year at LSU and is enjoying his best season yet. This is the 4th time he has led the tigers to the big dance compiling a 3-3 record. His first trip in 2000 he led them to he sweet 16 behind Stromile Swift. He also led them to the tournament in 2003 and 2005 osing both times in the first round.
Did anyone else watch A&M take on Syracuse last night? If you missed it, Coach Gillispie did just ok in his first trip with the Aggies. (/sarcasm)
Is John Brady a coach that scares you?
Let s ride the hot hand here.
Minor Edge for the Aggies (+1)
Both teams are playing well at the best time of the year.
No issues here. Both teams have been in Jacksonville since Tuesday.
Both teams sold their full allotment of tickets from the NCAA.
My guess is that both teams will be represented nicely.
At this point , I don't know that saying LSU went to the dance in 2005 and A&M didn't is applicable.
Seems to me that with one game each under their belt in Jacksonville that both teams are of the same mindset when it comes to experience/nerves.
Push +/ - 0
I hope this report helps for tomorrow - This should also be a great game.
Old Army Fight!
The Aggie Hoops Report s Game Outcome Prediction -
LSU Tigers - 71
Texas A&M Aggies 68