Will Wade updates Brandon Rachal’s status ahead of NIT matchup with Utah

Will Wade updated the status of freshman forward Brandon Rachal on Friday, saying he wasn’t sure if Rachal would be available for LSU’s Monday matchup with Utah in the second round of the NIT.

“I don’t know,” Wade said. “(The decision)’s not with me.”

Rachal missed Wednesday’s first round win over UL-Lafayette, watching from the sidelines in street clothes as the Tigers won 84-76. Wade said he didn’t find out Rachal would not be able to play until 1:24 p.m. on game day.

“I was in shootaround,” Wade said. “I got a text message, and I was out of shootaround. He can practice, travel. He can do everything but play. Which is great, right?”

LSU could’ve used Rachal Wednesday and could definitely use him Monday against a stingy Utah defense. The Tigers could particularly use the Rachal that’s played lately. Though he averages just 4.4 points and 3.3 rebounds per game, he’s saved his best ball for March, averaging 7.6 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 3.7 steals per game in LSU’s last three contests. He scored 10 points, grabbed 9 rebounds, and hauled in four steals in LSU’s 80-77 loss to Mississippi State in the SEC Tournament, where he was a team-high plus-13 off the bench.

“Rachal, now, he helps us, when he’s doing how he’s been doing the last couple of games,” Wade said, praising his player’s toughness. “Him and Daryl (Edwards) are the only two we got that will stay in there until the bitter end.”

Rachal will practice leading up to the game and travel with LSU to Salt Lake City, but his status remains up in the air for now.

“I would say he may have a shot (of playing),” Wade said. “It’s out of my hands.”

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