LSU looks to improve to 3-0 on the season when it welcomes Memphis to town for a non-conference matchup Tuesday. LSU has averaged 95.5 points in topping Southeastern Louisiana and UNC Greensboro at home in its first two contests, while Memphis comes in off a win in its opener against Tennessee Tech.
New coach Penny Hardaway has brought excitement to the Memphis program, and that should continue behind the play of senior forward Kyvon Davenport, who scored a career-high 30 points in the opener. Guard Jeremiah Martin added 18 points, though the offense wasn't as sharp as Hardaway would have liked, shooting 41.9 percent from the field and 25 percent from 3-point range. LSU got a big game from freshman forward Naz Reid (29 points, seven rebounds) and sophomore guard Tremont Waters (21 points, 10 assists, six steals) to pull out a victory over UNC Greensboro in its last outing. Coach Will Wade wants to see better defense out of his club after it allowed its first two opponents to hit 46.4 percent from beyond the arc and let the Spartans tie a Pete Maravich Assembly Center record with 19 3-pointers.
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ABOUT MEMPHIS (1-0): While Hardaway knows he's going to rely on his seniors, especially in the early going, he's hoping the team's freshmen will come around and start playing to their capabilities sooner rather than later. That wasn't the case in the opener as the four first-year players that played for Memphis -- Alex Lomax, Tyler Harris, Antwann Jones and David Wingett -- combined for 5-of-24 shooting, 13 points and four turnovers. The two freshman starters -- Lomax and Harris -- will need to put things together in a hurry, but after finally making their debut, they should be a little more together as they gain more experience.
ABOUT LSU (2-0): Wade was happy about the Tigers' 2-0 start to the season, but was most happy with his team's success at the free-throw line -- 28-of-31 -- against UNC Greensboro. LSU had made 24-of-31 in its season-opening win, but Wade still wanted his team to improve, which obviously sunk in for his players. After two games, four players -- Reid, Darius Days, Skylar Mays and Marshall Graves -- are a combined 22-of-22 from the stripe, with Ja'Vonte Smart (9-of-10) and Waters (7-of-9) right behind, giving Wade confidence his team will improve on last season's 73.1 percent accuracy.
1. Memphis senior F Mike Parks, who started every game last season, is expected to make his 2018-19 debut against LSU after sitting out both exhibition games and the Tennessee Tech game with with injury.
2. Waters leads LSU in assists (6 per game) and steals (5.5).
3. Freshmen have scored 56.5 percent of LSU's points through two games this season.
PREDICTION: LSU 88, Memphis 80 Bet Now
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|Kareem Brewton Jr.|
|Mike Parks Jr.|