Penn State has won three of its first four games of the season with its lone loss coming in a disappointing upset versus UMass. Meanwhile, LSU has cruised through the non-conference portion of its schedule thus far, winning all five of its contests in a dominant fashion.
Can the Tigers remain undefeated at the Emerald Coast Classic in a heavyweight battle versus Penn State on Friday night?
Tigers look to remain undefeated vs. Penn StateLSU cruised to an 83-53 victory at home against Belmont on Monday evening. Sophomore Tari Eason led the way with 17 points and seven rebounds off of the bench while senior Xavier Pinson added 14 points for the Tigers, who never looked back after overcoming an early 7-0 deficit.
Will Wade’s squad comes into Friday’s contest with an undefeated 5-0 record and they rank No. 21 in the latest KenPom rankings as a result. LSU has posted an adjusted 111.0 offensive rating through five games, 21st in the country, while posting an effective field goal percentage of 56.8 percent, 23rd in the NCAA.
On defense, the Tigers have given up just 90.9 points per 100 possessions, 27th in the NCAA. They have also limited opposing teams to an effective field goal percentage of 39.0 percent, ninth in the NCAA, while forcing turnovers at the sixth-highest rate in the country (29.0 percent).
Penn State seeking marquee win vs. LSUPenn State overcame a second half deficit to take down Cornell 85-74 at the Bryce Jordan Center on Monday. Senior Sam Sessions finished with 22 points, six rebounds, and four assists, while junior Seth Lundy scored a team-high 23 points in the win.
Micah Shewsberry has had an up and down start to his time on the sidelines at University Park. In his first season as head coach, Penn State enters with a 3-1 record through four games and is ranked No. 87 in the latest KenPom rankings ahead of Friday’s matchup.
The Nittany Lions sport an adjusted 106.2 offensive rating, 76th in the nation, and they sport an effective field goal percentage of 54.9 percent, good for 50th in the country. Penn State has also struggled with turnovers, ranking 232nd in the country with a turnover rate of 20.3 percent.
On defense, Penn State owns an adjusted 97.4 defensive rating, which ranks 106th in the country.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Tigers entered this game as 9.5 point favorites but that number has already been bet down to -8.5 ahead of Friday’s contest. The Nittany Lions stumbled in their lone game away from home this season, getting blown out by 25 points on the road against UMass, so there could be some value on the Tigers in this spot. While LSU has had the luxury of playing all five of its games at home, its strengths match up relatively well with Penn State’s weaknesses. Not only have the Tigers ranked among the best field goal defenses in the country, they also rank first in steal rate, second in block rate, and sixth in turnover rate. That doesn’t bode well for the Nittany Lions, who have struggled to take care of the ball against weaker opponents. Take LSU to cover the spread versus Penn State in the Emerald Coast Classic on Friday night.
Full-Game Total Pick
These two teams are projected for 142 points but that number might be set a little too high in this spot. Penn State has struggled with turnovers and it also plays at one of the slowest paces in the nation. The Nittany Lions rank 302nd in the country in adjusted tempo and 330th in average possession length on offense, which should keep this game from moving at anything more than an average pace. Meanwhile, LSU has been one of the stingiest defenses in the country during the early part of the season. Take this game to stay under the projected total on Friday evening.