FILE - In this Wednesday, March 6, 2019, file photo, LSU guard Javonte Smart (1) looks for an outlet during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Florida in Gainesville, Fla. Smart will play for in the Southeastern Conference Tournament after missing the Tigers' regular-season finale because his name surfaced in reports of a wiretapped phone call that resulted in coach Will Wade's suspension. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough, File)

NCAA Tournament Preview: LSU Set to Face Yale in Jacksonville

The round of 64 of the NCAA Tournament officially starts tomorrow. The third-seeded and 12th ranked LSU Tigers will take on the 14th seed Yale Bulldogs early in the day tomorrow at 12:40 p.m. in Jacksonville, FL at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena.

Coverage of this game can be found on truTV. Now let’s take a look at the matchup:

LSU’s Season

It’s been an interesting season for the Tigers men’s basketball team to say the least. To start, LSU head coach Will Wade was suspended due to a violation of NCAA rules and replaced by interim head coach Tony Benford. Wade hasn’t coached the Tigers since winning 79-78 in OT against the Florida Gators on March 6th, which is somewhat ironic when discussing the SEC tournament.

LSU ended up losing to Florida, 76-73, in the quarterfinal round of the SEC tourney, ending their 5-game winning streak and run in the tournament. Despite the drama, coach Benford says the guys are very excited for this upcoming matchup.

Coming off the loss against Florida, Benford says the team is ready to go and show that they can do better.

Overall, LSU has a 26-6 record and went 16-2 in the SEC to become the SEC regular season champions. Players to watch for LSU are sophomore guard Tremont Waters and freshman forward Naz Reid. 

Waters leads the Tigers in points this season with an average of 15.1 points per game, 5.9 rebounds and 3 steals. Reid leads in rebounds with 7.2 and averages 13.7 points per game.

Junior guard Skylar Mays and freshman guard Javonte Smart also add to the team with 13.4 points per game and 11.5, respectively.

In regards to Yale, coach Benford says it’ll be a great matchup. He says they are well coached and have two really good guards.

Ivy League Champions

Yale clinched its spot in the NCAA tournament last weekend after defeating Harvard, 97-85, and winning the Ivy League Tournament. The Bulldogs are 22-7 overall and have a 10-4 record in conference play.

Yale has a pretty veteran team with three seniors and two juniors expected to be on the starting lineup, according to A couple names to listen for are senior guard Alex Copeland and junior guard Miye Oni.

Oni leads the team with an average of 17.6 points per game and 6.4 rebounds a game. Copeland averages 13.8 points a game and was selected as the Ivy League Tournament Most Outstanding Performer. In the two games he played in at the tournament, he averaged 20.5 points per game and had 12 assists.

Overall, both of these teams average over 81 points a game with Yale at 81.1 and LSU averaging 81.4.

What’s Next?

The winner of this matchup will advance onto the second round of the NCAA tournament and will play on Saturday. The winner will play either 11th seed Belmont or 6th seed Maryland.

About Sydney Jones

Sydney is a senior studying telecommunications with a specialization in sports media at the University of Florida. She is a multimedia sports reporter for ESPN 98.1 FM/850 AM WRUF and WUFT-TV.

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