Preseason Preview: LSU

Opponent: LSU
Mascot: Tigers
Conference: SEC
14-15 Record: 22-11 (11-7) (Lost in 2nd Round of NCAA tournament)
14-15 RPI: 54
14-15 KenPom: 44
Coach: Johnny Jones (4th Season)
Date: 11/23/15
Location: Barclay’s Center

Departures from 14-15:
Jarell Martin: Starting PF: 35.1 mpg, 16.9 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.2 spg, 0.7 bpg, 2.8 tpg, .269 3P%
Jordan Mickey: Starting C: 34.9 mpg, 15.4 mpg, 9.9 rpg, 1.3 apg, 0.9 spg, 3.6 bpg, 3.3 tpg, .111 3P%
John Odo: Benchwarmer: 7.1 mpg, 1.3 ppg, 1.1 rpg, 0.1 apg, 0.0 spg, 0.4 bpg, 0.3 tpg, .000 3P% (only appeared in 16 games)
Antonio Robinson: Benchwarmer: 4.0 mpg, 0.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 0.0 apg, 0.0 spg, 0.0 bpg, 1.0 tpg, .000 3P% (only appeared in 1 game)
Carlton Speight: Benchwarmer: 4.0 mpg, 0.0 ppg, 0.0 rpg, 1.0 apg, 0.0 spg, 0.0 bpg, 0.0 tpg, .000 3P% (only appeared in 1 game)
44% of Scoring, 49% of Rebounding, 20% of Assists, 28% of Steals, 70% of Blocks, 8% of 3PM

Ben Simmons: 5 star PF, ranked #1 by 247sports
Antonio Blakeney: 5 star SG, ranked #16 by 247sports
Craig Victor: Midseason Transfer PF from Arizona
Sampson: 4 star SG, ranked #56 by 247sports

Probable Starters:
PG: Josh Gray: 6-1 177 SR: 24.8 mpg, 7.1 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 3.8 apg, 1.0 spg, 0.0 bpg, 2.6 tpg, .264 3P%
SG: Antonio Blakeney: 6-4 190 FR: 5 star SG, ranked #16 by 247sports
SF: Brandon Sampson: 6-5 186 FR: 4 star SG, ranked #56 by 247sports
PF: Tim Quarterman: 6-6 190 JR: 33.6 mpg, 11.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 4.0 apg, 1.4 spg, 0.6 bpg, 2.4 tpg, .313 3P%
C: Ben Simmons: 6-10 240 FR: 5 star PF, ranked #1 by 247sports

Probable Bench:
Jalyn Patterson: 6-1 185 SO PG
Aaron Epps: 6-9 220 SO C
Elbert Robinson III: 7-1 290 SO C
Brian Bridgewater: 6-5 282 JR PF

Probable Benchwarmers:
Keith Hornsby: 6-4 210 RSSR SG (out with injury)
Craig Victor: 6-9 235 SO PF (midseason transfer)
Darcy Malone: 7-0 246 JR C
Brandon Eddlestone: 6-8 248 JR PF
Henry Shortess: 5-9 157 JR PG

Quick and Dirty Analysis: Marquette’s opening matchup of the Legends Classic will feature three of the best freshmen in the country. Henry Ellenson for Marquette of course, and two five stars for LSU, including the #1 rated player in the 2015 class. Ben Simmons, an Australia native has the size and strength to play in the post but the quickness, speed, and basketball IQ to play on the wing. He and Ellenson have similar skill sets though Simmons has the edge in almost every category. The other 5 star for LSU is SG Antonio Blakeney. The former Louisville commit has absurd athleticism and nasty dunking ability. This two additions will attempt to make up for the departure of elite big men Jarell Martin and Jordan Mickey. Both averaged nearly a double double for the Tigers. LSU only used an eight man rotation last season, with the last two members contributing less than nine minutes a game. Losing Martin and Mickey leaves big holes in their scoring, rebounding, and blocks. The new freshmen will help alleviate some of that, but they will need big contributions from some of their returning players. Keith Hornsby is a sharpshooting guard who will challenge Simmons for the role of go to scorer this season. The redshirt senior scored over 50% of his 13.5 points per game from beyond the arc and will look to improve on his already impressive 39% 3P%. Fortunately, for Marquette, Hornsby is out with an injury and will not be suiting up in Brooklyn. Tim Quarterman is the other key player for Johnny Jones. Quarterman is naturally a PG but his 6”6 frame and the Tigers lack of height will force him to guard the post in a lot of situations. He is a do it all player for the Tigers as he led the team in a steals and assists, was top three in rebounds, blocks, and 3PM and still managed to average double digit points every game. LSU will also need to find a way to get more out of junior bigs, Darcy Malone and Brian Bridgewater. The pair were #7 and #8 in the Tigers rotation last season and were little more than quick relief for the dynamic duo of Martin and Mickey. With LSU hurting for true size, Malone and Bridgewater will need to make more meaningful contributions in order for LSU to stay competitive.

LSU will look to counter Marquette’s superior size with a very uptempo, high pressure offense. Every player in their starting lineup has the ability to run for the entire game. The game will be decided by post play. The matchup of the athletic and quick Quarterman and Simmons versus the bigger and stronger Ellenson and Luke Fischer will provide mismatches for both teams. Simmons is simply too fast for Fischer to realistically stay in front of. On the other side, Simmons has the size but not the skill to guard a talented big man like Fischer in the post. The freshman phenom could find himself in foul trouble quickly. If Simmons does get into foul trouble, seldom used seven footer Malone would be the only player on LSU’s roster about 6”6 who has ever gotten meaningful playing time. Outside of Hornsby and backup PG Jalyn Patterson, LSU is not a great three point shooting team. They will score most of their points on drives to the hoop. Marquette may be wise to consider breaking out a zone to counteract the athleticism and speed of the Tigers.

Early Prediction: There are a lot of x factors that could tilt this game in either direction. In the end, LSU has too much talent as Simmons is able to outshine Ellenson. Marquette falls by five.

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Categories: Home, Previews

Author:Ryan Jackson

Texas A&M Professional, Marquette Fantatic


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