The LSU Tigers (9-4, 1-0 SEC) opened their conference schedule on Saturday with a 78-64 win at Tennessee. In that game the Tigers led by just 1 point at the half but dominated the second half to get a fine, resume building road win. LSU sophomore guard Javonte Smart led the Tigers in scoring with 21 points. Smart hit of 5 of 9 threes, three of those came in the first half. The difference in this game wasn’t 3-point shooting. Tennessee was 13 of 26 from three while the Tigers were 10 of 21. However, the Vols had just three points at the line, while LSU had 12. LSU also out-shot the Vols from the field hitting on 46% to Tennessee’s 40%. For the season LSU is third in the league in scoring offense. The Tigers are No. 1 in the conference in field goal accuracy making almost 50% of them. LSU also rebounds well and has a + 6.2 rebounding margin over its opponents, fourth best in the SEC. Sophomore forward Darius Days leads the Tigers in rebounding (8.0 rpg). He’s also fifth in the SEC in rebounding.
The Arkansas Razorbacks (12-1, 1-0 SEC) opened their SEC slate with a 69-59 home win over Texas A&M. Arkansas led that game 42-33 at the half and then was able to fend off a threat from the Aggies who narrowed that lead to two points with nine minutes to go in the game. Guard Isaiah Joe and Mason Jones co-led the Razorbacks in scoring, each with 17 points. Jones (19.5) and Joe (17.4) so far are the two leading scorers for Arkansas this season. Joe is third in the SEC in 3-point shooting, making 35% of his attempts. The Hogs are an outstanding free throw shooting team, making over 74% of them. It’s been the Razorbacks defense that has likely been the key to the Hogs winning 12 games this early. Arkansas is third in scoring defense (59.8 ppg). The Hogs are first in 3-point shooting defense (22.3%), first in steals (9.6 spg), fourth in blocked shots (4.9 bpg) and fifth in field goal defense (39.1%).
This is one of the better games of the week. LSU looks like they’ve played a better schedule. Arkansas does have wins over Indiana and Georgia Tech. LSU is not invincible, they have a home loss to East Tennessee State. I call that a fluke holiday loss. LSU probably wins this game at home.