Non-conference foes will clash in Houston this evening, as the Rice Owls play host to the LSU Tigers.
LSU had lost two straight games and three of four heading into Monday's matchup with Southern University. Fortunately, the Tigers were able to put one in the win column with a 62-41 triumph. They have yet to begin SEC play and have taken part in just one true road affair to date.
Rice is mediocre 6-6 overall, but the team has earned an impressive 5-1 home record. On a down note, the last two outings overall have resulted in defeat, including a heart-breaking 80-78 setback to Oral Roberts last Thursday. The Owls will begin Conference USA action on January 5th against Tulane.
The Owls own a 23-15 series advantage over LSU, but the Tigers won last season's meeting by a 65-61 final.
The LSU roster is full of youth and inexperience, so not much is expected of the Tigers in regard to SEC play this season. Andre Stringer is the leading scorer for the club with 14.1 ppg, but his 37.7 percent shooting from the floor suggests that Stringer needs to be a bit more selective at the offensive end. On a positive note, he has handed out 36 assists. The only other double- digit scorer in the fold for LSU is Ralston Turner, who provides 13.8 ppg. Overall, the Tigers are scoring 69.5 ppg while allowing 62.2 ppg to opponents on 38.5 percent field goal efficiency. Malcolm White was outstanding for LSU in the 21-point romp over Southern two nights ago, as he tallied 16 points and 11 rebounds off the bench. Turner was close behind with 15 points for the Tigers, who overcame their own 37.1 percent shooting by holding their overmatched opponents to 30.4 percent field goal efficiency.
Arsaian Kazemi has been a force for the Owls through the first 12 games of this season, as he is netting 17.2 ppg on 62.6 percent shooting from the floor. Much more than just a scorer, Kazemi is also ripping down 10.9 rpg and has the capability to challenge for Conference USA Player of the Year. Tamir Jackson is the team's only other double-digit scorer, as he provides 13.4 ppg and a team-high 3.2 apg. Rice is generating 68.4 ppg, and it is limiting foes to 65.8 ppg while outrebounding them by 4.4 rpg. Jackson was tremendous in the loss to Oral Roberts last time out, as he poured in 25 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the floor. Kazemi registered 20 points and 11 rebounds in that affair, while Connor Frizzelle added 15 points. As for Trey Stanton, he checked in with 12 points off the bench. Rice shot 52.9 percent from the field, but shaky defense led to the defeat.
Give a narrow edge to the home team tonight. The duo of Kazemi and Jackson will likely be too much for the Tigers to handle.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Rice 70, LSU 63