The Tigers might not be on the national radar yet, but they feature two of the most exciting players in college basketball right now. Sophomore point guard Tremont Waters returns after a stellar freshman season that saw him average 15 points and 6 assists per game and he will be joined by one of the brightest NBA prospects in the country in freshman Naz Reid.
L.A. Tech enters with 3-0 record
After opening the season with an impressive road win at Wichita State, Louisiana Tech cruised to a 3-0 record with a blowout 89-58 win over Harding — a non-DI opponent.
🐶 Louisiana Tech 111
🐯 LSU 109
In a highly anticipated matchup 43 years in the making, #LaTech defeated LSU in a wild overtime game.
— LaTechReport.com (@LaTechReport) November 16, 2018
The Bulldogs enter the weekend ranked No. 115 in the KenPom rankings after riling off three straight wins to open the regular season. Louisiana Tech is scoring 103.1 points per 100 possessions (136th in the NCAA), while allowing 98.6 points per 100 possessions on the defensive end of the floor (100th in the NCAA). Despite starting the season with an undefeated 3-0 record for the third time in four seasons, turnovers have been a major problem for Eric Konkol’s squad in 2018.
The Bulldogs have coughed up the ball on 24.3 percent of their offensive possessions (305th in the NCAA), while shooting just 27.9 percent from three-point range (270th in the NCAA) through three games. Instead, Louisiana Tech has been forced to generate points by crashing the offensive glass and getting to the free throw line at a high rate. They rank 44th in the nation with an offensive rebounding percentage of 38.1 percent and sixth in the country with a free throw rate of 74.5 percent so far this year.
Water, Reid making noise for the Tigers
When LSU signed five-star forward Naz Reid out of New Jersey, it got a skilled, yet still unfinished product in the 6-11, 270-pound big man. After working hard in the offseason, it seems like Reid is ready to make a leap in his perimeter game at LSU, where he has shot an impressive 5-for-11 from three-point range to open his college career. Reid enters Friday’s contest averaging 23 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, while quickly showcasing the skills that has NBA scouts clamoring over his potential. Likely a one-and-done player at LSU, Reid has not been shy about making gritty plays and giving on the floor for loose balls, which isn’t all that common among elite prospects.
Naz Reid is 6-10 250 and has this in his arsenal. OK. pic.twitter.com/WDocTSHafR
— Kyle Boone (@Kyle__Boone) November 14, 2018
LSU is fresh off of strong home wins against UNC Greensboro and Memphis last week. While neither of those games qualified as even Top-100 contests, both the Spartans and Tigers are quality early season opponents. Reid leads the team in scoring through three games at 19 points per contest, however, the Tigers have shown tremendous balance on offence, where six players are averaging at least nine points per game.
The Tigers come into Friday’s matchup ranked No. 42 in the KenPom rankings, while scoring at a rate of 113 points per 100 possessions (15th in the NCAA) so far this year. LSU ranks 27th in the country with a two-point percentage of 61.8 percent and 14th in the country with a team free throw percentage of 82.1 percent. What the Tigers lack in experience (312th in the NCAA), they make up for with hustle on the offensive glass, where they have corralled 43.2 percent of their missed field goal attempts so far this year (9th in the NCAA).
- Tigers are 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 vs. Conference USA.
- Tigers are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 home games.
- Bulldogs are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Bulldogs are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Bulldogs are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Bulldogs’ victory against Wichita State is going to look a lot less impressive as the season wears on. With how often Louisiana Tech has been turning the ball over, it is tough to trust them in this spot against a talented LSU team. The Tigers come into this game with two of the top players in the SEC in Waters and Reid, which should be more than enough to keep this LA Tech team at arms reach. Take LSU to cover the spread at home in this non-conference matchup against an in-state rival.
Prediction: Pick: LSU Tigers -12
Full-Game Total Pick
LSU has gone over the projected total in 37 of their last 55 games, while the Bulldogs have gone over the projected total in each of their last five games against SEC opponents. While LSU ranks among the top-15 offenses in the country, they also rank outside the top-100 on the defensive end of the floor. Look for this game to go over the projected total at the Maravich Assembly Center on Friday night.
Prediction: Over 155.5