LSU coach Will Wade left no doubt about how he felt after LSU’s 92-82 victory against Georgia on Wednesday night. He wasn’t happy.
Now No. 25 LSU (15-3, 5-0 Southeastern Conference) faces the task of hitting the road and trying to take down another group of Tigers in Missouri (10-7, 1-4) on Saturday at 5 p.m. on the SEC Network.
Wade pointed to the fact that No. 1 Tennessee needed overtime to take down a Vanderbilt team still looking for its first SEC win on Wednesday night as evidence that winning on the road in the league is as tough as ever.
“SEC teams are 1-6 on the road this week,” Wade said. “The number one team in the country barely beat the last place team in our league in overtime, in which was like a virtual home game. Nashville is 75 to 80 percent Tennessee fans in comparison to Vanderbilt fans. There is no easy road game in our league.”
Missouri sophomore forward Jeremiah Tilmon poses a big threat in the post, averaging 9.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.
Tilmon’s 6-foot-10, 255-pound gives him roughly the same frame as Kavell Bigby-Williams, who struggled Wednesday against Georgia after picking up an early foul that affected his play.
Missouri will try to play inside-out through Tilmon with point guard Jordan Geist running the floor.
Geist leads Missouri with 13.3 points per game to go along with 4.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game.
Missouri also has a dangerous wing player in Mark Smith, who shoots 46.1 percent from the field and 47.5 percent from the 3-point line with nearly 2/3 of his shots coming from behind the arc.
After struggling on defense against the Bulldogs — especially in the post — Wade will look for LSU to show improvement in the problems Georgia exposed, though he doesn’t expect things to be perfect over the span of just one game.
“Nothing is easy to fix,” Wade said. “We’ve got some issues that we need to fix. We’ve got some issues that we have to get corrected. Nothing is easy to fix. We went about it yesterday and today and tried to get it fixed as best we can.
“At this point in the season you’re not necessarily fixing stuff as much as you’re plugging gaps. We’re just putting duct tape here and hoping that one holds for a little bit. Then you go duct tape something else and hope that holds. If the duct tape rips off over here, you’ve got to go back and plug that one up. You’re just plugging stuff up more than you’re fixing it. We did try to put a little bit more time into hopefully getting it fixed.”
LSU sophomore point guard Tremont Waters enters the game as hot as he’s been in his time at LSU.
Waters dropped a season-high 26 points against Georgia, and he’s averaged nearly 18.8 points per game and 7.4 assists per game since SEC play started.
South Carolina coach Frank Martin and Georgia coach Tom Cream, the last two teams to coach against LSU, both pointed to Waters as LSU’s primary weapon.
“He made simple plays and good plays,” Wade said. “His passing angles were very good – he was just in sync. I thought he made great decisions.”
LSU enters the game hoping to remain one of the last two unbeaten teams in the SEC as it has won eight straight games.
Missouri will likely try to slow the game down, so the hands of defenders like Waters (54 steals) and Skylar Mays (35) to create transition opportunities will likely play a factor.