Behind Enemy Lines: Catching up with LSU Wire ahead of Wednesday night’s matchup

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Florida has had a brutal opening stretch to SEC play after its first game against Ole Miss was postponed. The Gators fought hard but came up short in double-digit Quadrant 1 losses in their first two games at home against Alabama and on the road against Auburn, and the road doesn’t get any easier from here.

UF returns home to face off against a very talented LSU Tigers team that ranks No. 4 in the NET on Wednesday night. Florida, who sits at 9-5 with losses in both the Quadrant 3 and 4 categories, really can’t afford an 0-3 start to conference play if it wants to preserve its NCAA Tournament candidacy.

This is one of the most important games of the season so far, and to get the rundown of this Tigers squad, we reached out to LSU Tigers Wire editor Patrick Conn. Here’s his preview of LSU’s team.

This LSU offense averages nearly 80 points per game, but it could be without guard Xavier Pinson, who injured his knee against Tennessee the other night. What’s his status and who will step up in the backcourt if he isn’t able to play?

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It was a tough blow for the LSU men’s basketball team to see their starting point guard go down with an injury against Tennessee. The early reports have been positive as there was no structural damage like an ACL or MCL injury. He could be back in a matter of days. As it stands right now, I would expect sophomore guard Eric Gaines to get inserted into the lineup.

How does LSU’s frontcourt deal with slowing down one of the SEC’s best centers in Colin Castleton?

Syndication: Gainesville Sun

One should expect that it will be a few guys in the mix to deal with Castleton. It will start with Efton Reid, the talented freshman big man. His length should cause some problems but if there is foul trouble I would expect to see Alex Fudge, Tari Eason, and even Darius Days to get in the mix.

Tari Eason is a player that can really do it all. Does he have any weaknesses in his game that the Gators can exploit, or is it just a question of limiting his production as much as possible?

Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The thing with Eason’s game is that he isn’t much of an outside shooter. Honestly, LSU doesn’t have many that consistently hit from the outside. Where he excels is inside against less athletic forwards and in the transition game. Limiting his touches is the best way to combat him on the court.

Florida’s defense is very aggressive with the press, and that tends to force a lot of turnovers. LSU is currently averaging 14.3 per game, so do you expect the Tigers to struggle to move the ball against this team?

Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Not having Pinson running the point makes this a concern. I don’t know how comfortable I am with a guy like Gaines running the offense against pressure. While they may struggle at times moving the ball down the court, they will create in the transition game with their defense. They produce 19 turnovers per game so that is how they can attack the Gators.

How do you see this game playing out? Score prediction?

Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Much like we have seen from LSU in tough matchups this year, they will start off slow then apply the pressure down the stretch. I will say LSU wins by 10-12 points in the game. Give me the Tigers 78-66.

For everything you need to know about Louisiana State Tigers athletics check out our sister site, LSU Tigers Wire.

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