While the final three games of the regular season are extremely important to the NCAA tournament hopes of the LSU basketball team, Saturday’s matchup with Ole Miss became bigger Wednesday night.
LSU moved within one game of fourth place in the Southeastern Conference standings when Ole Miss fell to Georgia 76-72, which means the Tigers can catch the Rebels with a victory Saturday at 1 p.m. in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
With a win, LSU (20-8, 9-6) would have the tiebreaker over Ole Miss (19-9, 10-5) for fourth place with only two games to be played before the SEC tournament begins March 11. The Tigers defeated the Rebels 75-71 on Jan. 14 in Oxford.
The top four teams in the standings earn a double-bye for the SEC tournament, which means they wouldn’t have to play until the quarterfinals on March 13.
While it’s important for that reason, LSU coach Johnny Jones said the Tigers have to treat the game with Ole Miss the same as the other 17.
“You talk about where we sit in the standings, and this could put us in a good position where we would be tied for that (fourth) spot,” he said. “I think they’re a game ahead, and that’s about it. It’s the next game on our schedule … that’s what makes this important.
While it isn’t the final home game of the season, LSU will honor its two seniors — center John Odo and walk-on guard Antonio Robinson — at 12:45 p.m. Saturday to allow relatives to travel to Baton Rouge.
Senior managers Joe Gricar, Harry Cahill and Gett Thomas will also be honored.
Conley bowing out
LSU athletic director Joe Alleva will recognize one of the SEC’s iconic broadcasting voices in Larry Conley, who’ll be working one of his final games as an FSN analyst.
Conley is retiring next week after 40-plus seasons as an announcer. In that time, he’s worked more than 1,800 college basketball games and 600 baseball games — the majority of them involving SEC schools.
LSU has posted a 7-3 record on the road this season, a mark that includes three wins of 18 points or more over Florida, Tennessee and Auburn.
It’s the first time the Tigers have won three road league games by at least 18 points since the 1945-46 season when they defeated Mississippi State by 24, Ole Miss by 30 and Alabama by 22 — all in a four-day span.
As of Thursday, about 3,000 tickets remained on sale for Saturday’s game.
Only a few scattered single seats are available in the 200 level, with the rest in the 300 level.
Tickets are available online at www.LSUtix.net and can also be purchased at the LSU Athletic Ticket Office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday. The PMAC ticket windows on the upper concourse open at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.
Final luncheon set
Jones will hold his final Tipoff Luncheon of the season on Tuesday in the Bon Temps Buffet at the L’Auberge Resort in Baton Rouge with Jim Hawthorne as the guest speaker.
The public is invited to attend the luncheon, which costs $14.99 per person.
The buffet opens at 11:30 a.m. with a question-and-answer session to begin about 12:10 p.m.
Follow Sheldon Mickles on Twitter @MicklesAdvocate.