No. 1 Kentucky is a 10-point favorite to beat LSU Tuesday night at the PMAC, but the Tigers have an upset in mind for the Wildcats.
It doesn't get much bigger than hosting the undefeated No. 1 team in the nation.
"This doesn't happen often. So I don't care what sport it is. Any time you're playing the team at the top, you're going to feel a certain way," said LSU head coach Johnny Jones.
"It's an honor to play the number one team in the country," said sophomore forward Jarell Martin.
The young Tigers squad has thought about what it would mean to hand the Wildcats their first loss of the season.
"It'd be huge for us as a team and show us that we could play with the number one team in the country and things like that. So I think if we knock them off, it'd be huge," said freshman guard Jalyn Patterson.
Head coach Johnny Jones and some of his returning Tigers can look back as recently as 2014 to draw on that experience of upsetting Kentucky in the PMAC. However, things won't be quite the same without Mr. Everything from a year ago, Johnny O'Bryant III.
"How people had to defend Johnny last year and the percentages you could put down with what he was going to rebound, the chance of him scoring, the double teams that he was going to receive and what you could play off of that was invaluable to us last year," commented Jones.>
But on the upside, sophomore forwards Jordan Mickey and especially Jarell Martin are much improved to make up the difference.
"They understand the level you have to play with to come out and be successful," added Jones.
"The whole team's got to come out hot," said Martin. "Everybody's got to come out being on edge about everything and trying to attack the rim. If our guards are wide open, they have to have confidence in knocking down big shots."
After earning 38 shots at the free throw line last Saturday against Alabama, by far their most of the year and ultimately a big difference maker in the game's outcome, LSU says they'll employ that same attacking style in hopes to neutralize some of Kentucky's depth. It also doesn't hurt to have a sold out PMAC ready to cheer their Tigers on to what could be a historic win.
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