BATON ROUGE – LSU’s Southeastern Conference journey opens Wednesday night at Auburn as the two nationally ranked teams meet at Auburn Arena.
LSU is 12-0, one of five unbeaten teams left in college basketball and ranked 16th in both the AP media poll and the Ferris Mowers coaches’ poll, while Auburn is 11-1, winners of eight straight contests and ranked No. 11 in the two polls.
LSU is ranked No. 3 in the NCAA Net rankings, while Auburn is No. 10.
The game is set to tip just after 6 p.m. CT and will air on ESPN2 with Richard Cross and Joe Kleine on the call. The Voice of the Tigers, Chris Blair, and former LSU head coach John Brady will have the broadcast of the game on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network (Guaranty Media flagship Eagle 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge) and the LSU Sports Mobile App.
The Tigers are expected back at full go after Tari Eason missed the 95-60 win over Lipscomb on Dec. 22 with back spasms. The team returned to practice after a Christmas break on Dec. 26 in preparation for this game.
Against Lipscomb, six LSU players were in double figures led by Darius Days with 21 points with five treys, Xavier Pinson with 17 points, five assists and five steals, Brandon Murray (5 assists) and Eric Gaines (6 assists) with 13 points each, Efton Reid III with 12 points and Mwani Wilkinson 11 points.
LSU shot 53.3 percent for the game overall, including 12-of-22 from the arc.
LSU has three players averaging in double figures with Eason at 16.3 points a game, Days at 15.0 points and a team high 8.5 rebounds and Pinson 10.8 points and 4.6 assists.
Days and Pinson will be the only members of the LSU team that have played in the Auburn Arena in their college careers. However, LSU did not play in the 9,000-seat venue last season. Pinson made an appearance there as a member of the Missouri squad.
Auburn’s only loss was to UConn in the first round of the tournament at Atlantis in the Bahamas Thanksgiving week. In a 71-58 win over Murray State Dec. 22, Wendell Green Jr. (10 rebounds) and Walker Kessler had 13 points each while Jabari Smith had 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Smith leads the team in averaging 16.2 points and 7.2 rebounds a game while K. D. Johnson is at 13.2 points.
Smith is the son of Jabari Smith Sr., who played at LSU in the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 seasons. In that 1999-2000 season, the LSU Tigers went on to win a share of the Southeastern Conference championship. That team, under Coach Brady, went on to advance to the Sweet 16 of the 2000 NCAA Tournament with a 28-6 record and 12-4 in what was then a 16-game schedule in the league.
In the preseason poll, the two teams were picked next to each other with Auburn picked fifth and LSU sixth.
LSU will return to Baton Rouge for two games to start the 2022 portion of the schedule with LSU hosting Kentucky at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 4 and Tennessee on Saturday, Jan 8. Tickets for those games are available at LSUtix.net.
(Press Release provided by LSU Athletics)