LSU appears ready to face NC State in NCAA tournament

PITTSBURGH, PA (WAFB) - The LSU men's basketball team appears ready to dance, but will the Tigers gracefully glide across the floor or fall flat on their faces?

No. 9 LSU will take on No. 8 NC State in the East Regional on Thursday.

"I'm very excited," said sophomore forward Jarrell Martin. "I can't wait to tip-off. I wish we can play right now, just too excited. I know our team is ready and we're ready to go to war."

"It's exciting," added fellow sophomore forward Jordan Mickey. "It's always been a dream of mine to come out and play in the NCAA Tournament. Watching it as a kid growing up, I've always said I wanted to get there before I leave college and I was able to do that."

After his shoulder injury and some iron deficiency, Mickey said he's ready to reemerge.

"My body is feeling a lot better. I'm feeling good and just ready to get out there and play and help my team out," Mickey explained.

How's that shoulder?

"My shoulder's fine. No pain at all and I'm moving it well and everything," Mickey replied.

"Consistency," said NC State head coach Mark Gottfried. "That's probably the one thing that's eluded us all year long. We've had great moments. We've had some that we haven't felt really good about when we've played poorly."

Gottfried commented on his team, but many think he could easily have been talking about LSU. Despite the erratic play of the Tigers at times this season, one player has been dependable.

Junior guard Keith Hornsby has pretty much been consistent for LSU, scoring in double digits in 15 consecutive games and averaging about 20 points per game in his last four outings. The rest of the LSU guards, however, have been a bit all over the map.

Take sophomore guard Tim Quarterman, for example. After making national headlines with a triple-double against Ole Miss at home, Quarterman is just six out of 22 from the field in his last three games.

"Just trying to get my teammates open and stuff like that," Quarterman said. "That's what I enjoy doing, so just picking my shots and shooting when I'm open and shooting with confidence."

How do you get back to being the guy you were against Arkansas and not the guy you were against Auburn?

"Just have a short term memory," junior guard Josh Gray replied. "That game is over with and that's behind me, so I have to come out with the right mindset and the right intensity and play my heart out. Me and Tim both played up to par and set the intensity for our team and for all of us and I think we'll have a great chance at winning."

Guards are the strength of North Carolina State. The Wolfpack's backcourt includes red shirt senior Ralston Turner, a former LSU Tiger.

"I had a lot of good memories in Baton Rouge, so I'll never forget that place," Turner said. "When it came down to the end and I decided to leave, it was one of the toughest decisions I've ever made in my life, but I don't really regret it. They're here. We're here. So, each party is happy."

Tipoff is scheduled for 8:20 p.m. The game will be televised on TBS.

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