We have been hearing a lot about the big bad LSU frontline. No surprise what Sportsline lists as the key strengths of this LSU squad:
Strengths: The Tigers have a strong inside game with Davis, Thomas and freshman Tasmin Mitchell and not only were among the top scoring teams in the SEC but among the team defensive leaders as well, with Thomas averaging three blocks a game. The Tigers generally like to play an up-tempo game. Opponents run against them at their own risk, as eventual East Division leader Tennessee learned in absorbing a 14-point loss in Baton Rouge.How are going to defend and possibly attack the LSU frontline. An interesting note from a Gator fan who we presume have watched few LSU games this season:
I've watched a bunch of LSU games this season and I've noticed one huge flaw in Tyrus Thomas' defensive game. He is not a great individual defender, all of his blocks come off help defense. Every time I've ever seen someone pump fake against him, he bites on it and jumps in the air and fouls. If I were the coach I would take it right at Thomas with Hollins, Moute, and Aboya all game.Of course we have our thoughts on how to deal with the LSU bigs. Bluestreet had this comment in response to my last post on LSU:
Play the same kind of defense we threw up against Powe and the Cal Bears at the Pac-10 tourney. Perhaps double up on the Baby inside when opportunity presents itself and make these guys beat us from the outside. I am not all that impressed with their backcourt play, so may be we double down with Hollins/Aboya/Mata and have Moute come over to help. May be even throw Wright at them if we have to. They are a bit like Cal, definitely better, but they don't have outstanding guard play, but they do have an elite post player and a couple of other talented big men (Hardin and Benson). I like the idea of seeing Davis try to passout of the double team with Afflalo, Bozeman, Collison, etc. ready to pick off passes.BruinDan also has some excellent takes on how to defend the LSU bigs:
I watched LSU in person against Vanderbilt this year. They are more athletic than Alabama and Memphis. Big Baby is a lot like Shaq from the standpoint of tv not doing his size justice. The guy is huge. He is a bigger, more unselfish Charles Barkley. It seems like the Bruins allowed a lot of entry passes during the first four rounds. We had the ability to guard those big men once the ball entered the paint. I think they should try to front Davis and Thomas and try to use our height against them. Their hands have got to fill passing lanes. Contesting shots isn't enough against LSU. They have to contest passes as well. Like Memphis, LSU lacks a true PG. I like the Bruin guards against anybody.Dan seems to be right on the money re. LSU pg. Jim Harrick also agrees with him:
I'm going with UCLA. They're going to clamp down on the guard line at LSU. There is a saying in basketball, if you cut the head off, the body dies. LSU at the point guard position is weak, and they are really going to have trouble getting into their offense and getting the ball to Big Baby. It starts right at the guard line and UCLA is going to choke them off.And the Sportsline Edge matchup article linked above lists LSU guard play as their Achilles Heel:
Weaknesses: Without Tack Minor, who missed early games because of an university-imposed suspension and then was injured upon his return, the Tigers lack a true point guard. Darrel Mitchell generally assumes the role. Freshman Garrett Temple at the other guard spot is not a strong enough shooter on the perimeter to earn the respect of opponents. The Tigers also have trouble when an opponent keeps the pace down. The Tigers were only 5-4 in games played in the 60s or lower in the regular season.We are going to need our guards to step up - BIG TIME - this weekend. AA has been a little off with his offense during the tourney. Don't get me wrong - he has played exception defense and has been money during crunch time, but it would be awesome if he (along with perhaps Jordan, DC, and Roll) can knock down outside shots in the first half. We are going to need them. It is really interesting though. Before the tourney started we were concerned who else will be contribute on the offensive ends besides Jordan and AA. Of course Luc has stepped up. Ryan has had a memorable tournament so far (here is Ryan in the NY Times). DC is developing as one of the best frosh pg in the nation. But we know need Jordan and AA to step up if they want to etch their names in the Bruin lore ala Edney, O'Bannon (Ed), Walton, et al. We are going to need our two sophomore leaders who have been the spark plugs in changing the Bruin basketball culture on the court.
We'd like to hear thoughts on possible Bruin strategery this weekend? How are we going to tame another set athletic Tigers? Surely we can't depend on Bill Plashcke of the LA Times to provide us with any kind of insight. And poor Brian Dohn over at DN is often way too swamped. So fire away. Discuss!