No. 25 LSU Going for Back-to-Back Wins at Alabama for First Time Since 1991-92 Seasons
LSU basketball has a chance to break a nasty 30-year spell against Alabama this weekend. The last time LSU beat the Crimson Tide in back-to-back seasons was the 1991 and 1992 seasons.
After defeating Alabama 74-69 in 2019, the Tigers have a chance to snap that streak on Saturday afternoon but need to do something that's been a tall order for them all season, defend the three. Opposing teams are shooting an unbelievable 34.3% from the outside against LSU, a statistic that puts them second to last in the SEC, just ahead of Vanderbilt.
Coach Will Wade has said that number isn't necessarily characteristic of the team's ability to defend the three, but more so "luck" that teams are having that amount of success from beyond-the-arc.
What also doesn't bode well for LSU is that Alabama enters Saturday night's contest shooting the three at a 35% clip, tops in the SEC and on 731 attempts. That's 80 more attempts than second place Auburn, a team that's made its mark as a three-point shooting dynamo the last couple of seasons, despite its efficiency being down in 2020.
The Crimson Tide (13-11, 5-6) come in after back-to-back overtime games against Georgia and No. 11 Auburn where they jacked up a combined 84 three-point attempts.
"They hit 22 threes last night (against Auburn). That’s about a month worth of threes for us and they hit them in one game," Wade said. "They’re shooting it with confidence. We’re going to have to play quite a bit better at a place where we haven’t played very well at in a long time. It’ll be a big challenge for us."
Alabama is loaded with snipers as John Petty, Jaden Shackelford and Alex Reese all rank in the top-10 in the conference in three-point makes.
"Shackelford is playing very well. Go back and watch our game here, we won by 14 but if you watch it, Alabama is going to get a lot of confidence from that game," Wade said. "We didn’t box them out, the ball just kind of bounced our way a couple times where (Herb) Jones and (John) Petty could have gotten easy put backs."
As great as Alabama has been from the outside this season, Wade said that the Crimson Tide's ability to get to the free throw line is almost as deadly. Alabama averages nearly 23 free throw attempts a game, fourth in the SEC but only had 10 attempts against LSU in the first meeting of the season, a game the Tigers won 90-76.
"If they’re hitting their threes and you’re fouling them driving, attacking the basket, that’s where they really can put you in a tough spot," Wade said. "We did a good job the first game of really owning the foul line and us driving and controlling the free throw line."
Wade is hoping the return of Charles Manning can help limit the amount of threes Alabama takes as his perimeter defense has been sorely missed the last month of the season.
"It just allows us to rotate a little bit more positionally and be a little bit better with what we're doing," Wade said of Manning's return.
The Tigers tip-off with Alabama at 3 p.m. on Saturday with the game available on TV