Busting Brackets

LSU vs. UNC Greensboro: College Basketball game preview, TV schedule

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 13: A LSU Tigers cheerleader performs against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the second round of the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament at Georgia Dome on March 13, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 13: A LSU Tigers cheerleader performs against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the second round of the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament at Georgia Dome on March 13, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

An up and coming SEC team takes the court with one of the better mid-major programs in the country on Friday when LSU plays host to UNC-Greensboro.

TV Schedule: Friday, November 9, 8:00p.m. ET SECN+

Location: Pete Maravich Assembly Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

One team is looking to make noise in the SEC, the other nearly knocked off Gonzaga in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and they will square off Friday night in Baton Rouge as the LSU Tigers host the UNC Greensboro Spartans. LSU welcomes a top-10 recruiting class to campus and in a short period of time, head coach has raised expectations in the bayou. The Spartans won 27 games and made their first NAA Tournament since 2001 and it was nearly a memorable one, as they gave No. 4 Gonzaga everything they can handle, falling 68-64.

LSU Tigers (1-0)

Sophomore point guard Tremont Waters is the team’s top scorer, averaging nearly 16 points per game, while dishing out six assists. The 5-11 guard also attempted the most free throws on the team, so to prepare for the riggers of his 2nd season, Waters has added some muscle in the offseason. The other returning guard is junior Skylar Mays who scored 11.3 points per game last season and his four rebounds are tops among the returning Tigers. The excitement around the program comes from the newcomers, led by a stellar group of freshmen.

Naz Reid is the main draw in the class. The 6-10 forward was a McDonald’s All-American will immediately slot into the starting lineup and be an immediate force. Ja’Vonte Smart is a 6-4-point guard that’ll give the Tigers flexibility and little to no drop off when Waters comes off the floor. In addition to Reid, the frontcourt sees the addition of a pair of 6-7 swingmen, Emmitt Williams and Darius Days. Head coach Will Wade also dipped into the JuCo ranks by nabbing guard Danya Kingsby and forwards Courtese Cooper and Marlon Taylor.

In their season opener, the Tigers coasted over Southeastern Louisiana on 94-63 on Tuesday night. Reid led LSU with 17 points and six rebounds and fellow freshman Williams recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 boards in just 16 minutes. Waters was the only starter not to reach double figures, but he did have five of the team’s 13 steals in the game. Nine players saw at least 15 minutes of action in a game where LSU led by 30 at halftime.

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UNC Greensboro (1-0)

The Spartans are coming two of their most successful seasons in school history, winning 52 games in the last two seasons. If that wasn’t good enough for coach Wes Miller, they return their top scorer, rebounder and assist man from last season. Senior guard Francis Alonso netted 15.6 points per game and junior big man James Dickey also returns as the Southern Conference’s reigning rebounding champion, with 8.4 per game and Defensive Player of the Year. Senior guard Demetrius Troy handed out 3.8 assists per game last year and is the second-best three-point shooter, knocking down over 38% of his shots. One returning player that Miller is looking at to take the next step is sophomore guard Isaiah Miller. As a freshman, he scored 8.3 points and grabbed 3.1 rebounds per game in just 16 minutes of action.

On Tuesday night the Spartans got off to a good start with 74-66 win over North Carolina A&T. UNCG had three players finish in double figures, led by Alonso who netted 23 to go along with six rebounds. The other two came off the bench, Miller had 16 points, three rebounds, three assists, and four steals and freshman guard Kaleb Hunter had 11 points. Dickey was his typical force on both ends of the floor with seven points, 10 rebounds, and seven blocks. The Spartans trailed by one at the half before taking control during the second stanza, after falling behind 41-40 38 seconds into the half, they went on a 12-2 run to give them a cushion they would keep until the final buzzer.

Key Matchup

The matchup to keep an eye on in this game whether Miller wants to put his defensive specialist, Dickey on the heralded freshman Reid. Both guys are 6-10 and extremely athletic, with neither one afraid to play outside the paint. Reid has more of a well-rounded offensive game but Dickey is more of a defensive presence. One key may be whether Dickey has the quickness to stay with Reid on the perimeter.

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Prediction: The young talent of LSU proves to be too much for the veteran Spartans, as the Tigers pull away in the second half.