Could it be Blue Collar versus the Blue Bloods when LSU (9-3, 0-0 SEC) plays host for Wednesday night's Gold Game at the PMAC against Kentucky (11-2, 1-0 SEC)?
The No. 17 Wildcats will be in town for the SEC debut of Will Wade and his freshman point guard.
"He said Baton Rouge and, like Louisiana in general, is a hard-working state,” said Tremont Waters. “Everyone is like blue collar and everything, so that's what we're working towards - to be a lot more gritty and playing hard. And, he said, like, the fans only want to see us play hard."
The Tigers are coming off an impressive road win at Memphis, overcoming adversity and a deficit in the second half. They expect to face more against one of college basketball's elite.
"If you miss a three [pointer], the rebound’s coming off long and when you play a team like Kentucky, that's an outlet pass for their break,” said head coach Will Wade. “I mean, they're gone. They're gone when you play a team like that, so we've got to take great shots and we've got to get back."
Big Blue comes to Baton Rouge as the four-time defending SEC champs, but that's a little deceiving, because it's practically a brand new team with five freshmen starters.
The Wildcats aren't unbeatable. In fact, they just lost to UCLA in New Orleans at the Smoothie King Center 10 days ago, but have responded with a blowout of arch-rival Louisville and another home court victory in their SEC opener with Georgia.
So, what does the SEC assist leader think of Kentucky?
"NBA, NBA, NBA and NBA - that's pretty much what Kentucky's known for," Waters added.
According to Waters, Wade and his staff have been trying to emphasize the blue collar attitude to outwork every opponent and dive for loose balls, like you might remember from a few years ago when Keith Hornsby got the PMAC roaring for an effort rarely seen.
"He gave us this loose ball drill where Coach Benford just rolls the ball out and we have to run and dive on it, so it's kind of like forcing us to the pattern of diving on the floor and getting loose balls," Waters explained.
"Our guys are such, and I say this in the nicest way, are such nice guys. We have to kind of give them some ... we need some nastiness. We just don't have any nastiness. We're just … we're so nice," Wade said.
Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. LSU is expecting a sellout crowd and the television coverage will be on SEC Network.
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