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December 4, 2012
The LSU basketball players are concentrating on fall semester exams this week.
The Tigers are in the middle of a 12-day break from games. Everyone involved with the LSU basketball program certainly has a good feeling coming off a come-from-behind victory against Seton Hall last Thursday.
The Tigers went to a full-court press which enabled them to wipe out a 16-point second-half deficit against the Pirates. LSU came away with a 72-67 victory against Seton Hall for its fifth consecutive victory in Johnny Jones' first season as coach.
"I am really excited about our team," said Jones on Tuesday at his monthly luncheon held at the L'Auberge Resort. "I couldn't have asked for a better start after losing Justin Hamilton and having other guys transfer out. I didn't think back in April we'd start like this."
Former LSU basketball star Rudy Macklin was the guest speaker at Tuesday's luncheon. Macklin, who was a senior when Jones was a freshman on the Tigers team, was greatly enthused when he saw the full-court press last week.
"The game against Seton Hall reminded me so much of our teams in the past," Macklin said. "Johnny throws in the full-court press. That looked familiar to me. When (Jones) took his jacket off, I high-fived (former LSU basketball player), Collis Temple, Jr.
"Johnny built a program at North Texas. I thought we had missed our chance of getting him as coach. I thought he may end up at a big basketball school. I'm glad it didn't work out that way. I see another growth spurt for LSU basketball. We need to get back to the old ways when we filled the PMAC."
LSU is one of just 11 BCS conference teams who are still undefeated. The others are Duke and Virginia Tech from the ACC; Illinois, Indiana and Michigan from the Big Ten; Cincinnati and Syracuse from the Big East, Arizona from the Pac-12 and Florida and Ole Miss from the SEC.
The Tigers' RPI is 53 - worse than every one of the undefeated teams except for Virginia Tech, whose RPI is 54. LSU has a poor strength of schedule rating at 259. The Hokies' strength of schedule rating is 260. Duke is No. 1 in RPI.
The Tigers' opponent with the best RPI is Northwestern State at 74. LSU held off the Demons 102-95. Surprisingly, winless Mississippi Valley State has a RPI of 77. Of the Tigers' five remaining non-conference opponents, only Boise State has a RPI below 100 at 55.
Shavon Coleman, who has been playing mostly in the post at 6-foot-5, is the team leader in scoring (17.4). He is also contributing 7.6 rebounds per game. Johnny O'Bryant is accounting for 12.5 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. Anthony Hickey is averaging 10.2 points and 5.2 assists per game.
"Shavon has played very well," Jones said. "But, it's time for somebody else to step up so Shavon can go back and be a role player. Johnny is gradually coming along. We still have a long way to go. I am happy with the guys' focus and their growth since April. They understand where they need to be.
"The guys are buying in to what we are doing on the floor. They are committed to playing the game of basketball. Down 16 to Seton Hall, they still had fight in them. The way we finished that game off speaks volumes."
LSU's six-game season-opening homestand ends next Tuesday when Chattanooga comes to the PMAC. Chattanooga has won just two of its first seven games. Following the game against the Moccasins, the Tigers will play three consecutive games on the road against Boise State, Cal Irvine and Marquette.