3 things to watch for when UK plays LSU



1. It’s won’t be LeBron on the floor, right?

LSU coach Trent Johnson had this to say when assessing Saturday’s opponent: “I don’t know if it’s Kentucky or the Miami Heat we have to play.”

According to the schedule, it’s Kentucky, although Johnson’s remark pretty much sums up how opponents view UK. They have a talent, athleticism and size advantage over everyone else.

If UK can continue its gradual improvement and improve to 5-0 on the road, UK will retain its No. 1 ranking. And no pre-game chalk toss needed.

2. Offensive output

Two of UK’s five least efficient games came on the road in the SEC, against Auburn and Georgia (the others: Louisville, Kansas, Old Dominion). And LSU won’t be much easier than the other SEC opponents. The Tigers rank third in the SEC in scoring defense (61.5 points per game) and fourth in field goal percentage defense (40 percent).

UK stalled against Georgia in the second half, scoring 19 points. It doesn’t want that happen again — although even if it does, UK might be fine anyway. LSU is another good-defense, bad-offense team, the type that UK has seemingly encountered in every conference game to this point.

The Tigers shoot just 40.6 percent on offense and don’t get to the free throw line often. They take care of the basketball, ranking second in the SEC in turnover margin (plus-2.95), so it won’t be easy for UK to push the pace off turnovers.

Given UK’s high-quality defense, this could be another relatively low-scoring game.

3. Post play

If there’s one player who could give UK trouble, it will be Justin Hamilton. The 6-foot-11 center leads the team in scoring (13.9 points per game) and rebounds (7.4 per game).

UK just came off beating Georgia, a severely undersized team with no true interior presence. LSU has one, and the onus will fall on Anthony Davis to match his physicality. It’s another good test for Davis as he continues to improve his play in the paint.