LSU Men's Basketball 2012 NIT Capsule

LSU Tigers
Southeastern Conference (18-14, 7-9)

Trent Johnson came over from Stanford a few years ago to take over the LSU program.  Since his appointment, LSU has not found great success.  Their best year under Johnson was 2009, getting to the second round of the NCAA tournament.  They have been a far cry from their 2006 Final Four appearance, but in 2011-2012 they are at least heading in the right direction.  They finished in the top half of the SEC, and had some strong wins to build their resume.  They also had some tough losses.  The future looks positive for this team though.  Johnson had a lot of success at Stanford that he was hoping to transfer to Baton Rouge.  He appears to be on a trajectory that will help save his job.

Big Wins: 12/19 Marquette (67-59), 2/11 Alabama (67-58), 2/14 Mississippi State (69-67)
Bad Losses: 11/15 at Coastal Carolina (63-71), 11/23 South Alabama (75-79), 3/3 at Auburn (52-67)
Coach: Trent Johnson (4 seasons at LSU)

Why They Can Surprise:
LSU is a pretty good rebounding team.  Their big 7’0” center Justin Hamilton nabs over seven boards per game.  He is also their leading scorer at 12.7 per game.  They can work inside out with him on offense.  This team is starting to learn how to win.  Yes, they have some bad losses, but when the chips were stacked against them in games against Marquette and Mississippi State they dug in and came out on top.  They will not be intimidated by any higher-seeded opponents in a tournament.

Why They Can Disappoint:
They may not be intimidated by higher-seeded opponents, but teams seeded lower than LSU will not be intimidated by them either.  Games against Coastal Carolina and South Alabama early in the season can be used as examples for how to beat LSU as an underdog.  Those are crippling losses if you’re trying to compete during the season in a major conference.  This is also a poor shooting team, especially from long range.  They only hit 32% of their 3-point attempts.  A shoot-out will do this team in.

Probable Starters:
Anthony Hickey, Freshman, Guard, 9.1 ppg, 3.8 apg, 2.1 spg
Andre Stringer, Sophomore, Guard, 10.1 ppg, 2.6 apg
Ralston Turner, Sophomore, Guard, 9.0 ppg, 1.6 apg
Storm Warren, Senior, Forward, 8.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg
Justin Hamilton, Junior, Center, 12.7 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.3 bpg

Key Roleplayers:
Malcolm White, Senior, Forward, 3.3 ppg, 2.0 rpg
Chris Bass, Senior, Guard, 1.6 ppg, 1.5 apg
John Isaac, Freshman, Guard, 2.7 ppg, 1.1 apg
Eddie Ludwig, Junior, Forward, 2.0 ppg, 1.9 rpg
Johnny O’Bryant, Freshman, Forward, 8.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 65.3 (230th in nation, 8th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 63.6 (84, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 40.7 (292, 10)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.6 (98, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.2 (254, 9)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 31.5 (237, 8)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.4 (157, 8)
Rebound Margin: 0.9 (158, 8)
Assists Per Game: 12.4 (209, 9)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.9 (115, 7)

Last Five Postseason Appearances:
LSU    2009    NCAA        Round of 64 win over Butler
LSU    2009    NCAA        Round of 32 loss to North Carolina
LSU    2006    NCAA        Round of 64 win over Iona
LSU    2006    NCAA        Round of 32 win over Texas A&M
LSU    2006    NCAA        Regional semifinal win over Duke
LSU    2006    NCAA        Regional final win over Texas
LSU    2006    NCAA        National semifinal loss to UCLA
LSU    2005    NCAA        Round of 64 loss to UAB
LSU    2004    NIT           First Round loss to Oklahoma
LSU    2003    NCAA        Round of 64 loss to Purdue

*all team stats through 3/4

See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules