Forward Toward February: Look at LSU

Forward Toward February: Look at LSU
February 3, 2013, 12:30 pm
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It’s that time of the year again for men’s college hoops fanatics. The calendar rolls over from January to February, and with that roll over comes the heart of the conference schedules.  The top teams aim to touch up their résumés, while bubble teams look for a key victory to put them over the top.  Let’s take a look at how the season has unfolded thus far and what is next for some of the teams that are dear to the hearts of Houston residents…

LSU Tigers:

Record as of Feb. 2: 11-7, 2-5 in Conference Play (10th in SEC)

Key Wins: Jan. 23 vs. Texas A&M; Jan. 30 vs. No. 17 Missouri

Bad Losses: Dec. 14 at Boise State; Jan. 16 vs. South Carolina

Season To Date: This season for LSU got off to a rough start before it even began.  Head Coach Trent Johnson abruptly left town to take over the reigns at TCU. This move was viewed by many as a backwards career move by Johnson.  Johnny Jones has done a respectable job in his first year with the Tigers, given the circumstances.  LSU went 9-2 in a rather easy non-conference schedule.  

Since SEC play has kicked off, they have quickly dropped five out of six. Losing to South Carolina at home in overtime is a tough one to swallow.

Senior Charles Carmouche, a Memphis transfer, has given the guard position some stability and leadership. He is averaging 9.4 points per game. Shavomn Coleman and Johnny O’Bryant III have both made great strides this season and form a nice 1-2 punch on the glass.  

They combine to average almost 16 rebounds per game. Entering last week at the bottom of the conference, LSU pulled off a surprising, yet impressive win over Missouri at home. Clutch shooting at the free-throw line down the stretch allowed the Tigers to came away with the victory. Johnny O’Bryant III posted a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.  

Andre Stringer and Anthony Hickey combined to score 38 points on 13-23 from the field.  A win of this magnitude is something that LSU can build on moving forward in the tough stretch of the SEC.

Looking ahead: Feb 6 vs. Vanderbilt, Feb 16 vs. Miss. St.; Feb. 23 vs. Alabama

Analysis: Vanderbilt and Mississippi State are teams in flux right now. Vanderbilt lost a ton of production from last year’s team to the NBA (Jeffery Taylor and John Jenkins). The Bulldogs have had to overcome Rick Stansbury’s retirement, mixed with transfers and graduation. Both are ripe for the picking. The intensity in the Alabama game is mostly found on the football field… but should still make for a nice matchup.

Team MVP so far: Shavon Coleman… Listed at only 6-foot-5, Coleman plays like someone who is 6-7 or 6-8. He went from not registering a single statistic in his first two seasons to averages of 12.1 pts and 7.4 rebounds per game so far this season.  He has posted five double-digit rebound games this season, but has only 31 rebounds in six league games. His production on the boards is crucial to LSU’s success.

Player to watch: Johnny O’Bryant III…O’Bryant III is simply an intriguing guy to watch play basketball. Not overly athletic, he makes up for that with solid fundamentals and knowing how to create space around the rim with his long arms. He is finishing at the basket at a much higher clip, up 7 percent from last season.  Only a sophomore, Johnny Jones is surely looking to build around O’Bryant moving forward.