LSU will play Florida at 8 p.m. (9 ET) Wednesday night and then host Texas A&M 11 a.m. Saturday. Even though the games are three days apart, the turnaround from Wednesday’s late tip-off to Saturday’s early riser will be the second time the Tigers have this two-game stretch. Head coach Will Wade voiced his frustrations about the schedule during Monday’s press conference.
“We’re the only team in the league that’s had this turnaround now. This is the second time we’ve had this which is just not right for our players. The only other team in the league that’s had this is Auburn, and they played two home games. We’ve had three out of four road games with this set up,” Wade said.
Last time LSU’s schedule was set this way, the Tigers lost at Vanderbilt 99-90 and at Auburn 91-90. Although both games were LSU’s season high in points, Coach Wade explained why the schedule hindered his team.
“The toughest part is the turnaround on the 11 a.m. games. It takes time to prepare. We don’t have any time. We’re going to have one practice between Florida and [Texas] A&M to prepare. Just like we had one practice between Vanderbilt and Auburn to prepare. That’s not right for our players. It doesn’t put our players in the best position.”
The only difference between the two-game stretch in early-February and this week is the home game against the Aggies, and Coach Wade said that may make the week easier to manage.
LSU now has begun preparing for a trip to Florida. The last time the Tigers and Gators played LSU escaped with an 84-82 win because Florida couldn’t beat the buzzer for a game-tying layup. The Gators were on a three-game win streak before losing at Kentucky 65-95.
“They’re a lot different than the first time we played them. They’re playing smaller. They’ve taken Payne out of the starting lineup. They’re playing [Scottie] Lewis at the three and [Keyontae] Johnson at the four. Johnson’s just been a nightmare match-up for us since he’s been there. They’re playing a little bit more like they did last year. It’s a very, very tough match-up for us, especially down there.”
Johnson had 16 points and nine rebounds when LSU beat Florida on January 21st, and the forward had 19 points and nine rebounds in the loss versus the Wildcats.
Click to the video to hear more from Coach Wade.