Alabama Hoops heads to Baton Rouge looking for season sweep of LSU

LSU v Alabama
LSU v Alabama / Brandon Sumrall/GettyImages

Alabama at LSU will tip off at 11:00 CT (12:00 ET) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The game will be televised on ESPN. 

Alabama Basketball (16-7, 8-2 SEC) looks to move on from a lopsided loss at Auburn Wednesday night when it heads to Baton Rouge to play the LSU Tigers (12-10, 4-6 SEC) for a Saturday morning tipoff. The Tide, who beat LSU 109-88 in Coleman Coliseum just two weeks ago, are seeking a season sweep of the Bayou Bengals.

Even following that lopsided home win, Coach Nate Oats was critical of his team, calling for increased effort and incentive on the defensive end of the floor. As Bama’s conference losses to Auburn and Tennessee proved, simply hoping to outscore every opponent is not a sustainable formula for long-term success. The Tide will have to find a way to tighten up defensively if it wants to close the season strong and potentially win the SEC.

Can LSU present a challenge?

Like most teams, LSU has played much better at home this season, so it won’t be easy to get a win in the Maravich Assembly Center. LSU is led by a pair of playmaking transfer guards in Jordan Wright (previously of Vanderbilt) and Jalen Cook (Tulane).

After facing eligibility concerns earlier this season, Cook is now dealing with an injury and is questionable for this weekend’s game. When Cook suits up, LSU has one of the better backcourts in the league, so his status could play a role in determining the outcome of this game. 

In the first matchup between Alabama and LSU, freshman guard Mike Williams III and reserve forward Derek Fountain led the Tigers with 16 points and 14 points respectively. If Cook can’t go, LSU will likely need similar performances from unexpected contributors to keep pace with Alabama, one of the highest-scoring teams in the country. 

Alabama to keep stacking conference wins?

Even amidst the concerns about Alabama’s ability to beat elite teams, the Tide has created clear separation between itself and the middle-of-the-pack SEC teams. Bama is 3-2 on the road in SEC play, having notched wins at Vanderbilt, at Mississippi State, and at Georgia. When it comes to a regular season conference title race, road wins are like $100 bills. 

A win today would help the Tide to stay right in the thick of the SEC championship hunt.