Opening Tip is posted about five hours before each game.
• What: LSU (17-13, 8-10 SEC) vs. Mississippi State (21-10, 9-9 SEC)
• When: 6 p.m. Thursday
• Where: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Mo.
• All-time series: LSU leads 110-101
• Last meeting: LSU 78, Mississippi State 57 (March 3, 2018 in Baton Rouge)
• Streaking: LSU (W1), Mississippi State (L2)
• TV: SEC Network (Tom Hart, play-by-play; Jimmy Dyles, analyst; Molly McGrath, sidelines)
• Online: ESPN.com/watch
• Radio: WDGL-FM, 98.1; WWWL-AM, 1350; KLWB-FM, 103.7 (Chris Blair, play-by-play; John Brady, analyst)
• In game Twitter updates: @MicklesAdvocate
• Up next: TBA
Here we go again. For the second consecutive year, LSU and Mississippi State will square off in their opening game in the SEC tournament — this time in St. Louis. These two teams will be anything but strangers, having played just five days ago in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. LSU won that won going away, 78-57, but don’t expect everything to be the same. The 10th-seeded Tigers will have to come up with something different against the seventh-seeded Bulldogs, who will be motivated to atone for that loss. The key for LSU that day was defensive play by its guards on State’s dangerous trio of Nick Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Quinndary Weatherspoon, Nick’s older brother. They were just 14 of 36 from the field as the Bulldogs shot just 41.1 percent for the game. Offensively, LSU exploited the paint area and got a combined 28 points from Aaron Epps and Duop Reath, which will likely be a big part of the Tigers’ game plan again.
• FOR STARTERS: LSU is 12-6 in its SEC tournament opener since 2000 and is 47-57 all-time in 58 tournaments overall. The Tigers are 26-38 in the 39 tournaments played since the event was resurrected in 1979.
• IT’S YOU, AGAIN: Mississippi State and LSU were matched in a first-round game last year with the Bulldogs winning 79-52 in Nashville, Tennessee. LSU is now 2-4 all-time against Mississippi State in the league tournament.
• DEFENSIVE IMPROVEMENT: LSU held seven of its 18 SEC opponents under 70 points after having no such games a year ago. Among the seven victims this year was Mississippi State, which fell 78-57 on Saturday.
• STILL STREAKING: Guard Skylar Mays had two steals in Saturday’s win against State and now has at least one 14 consecutive games. He’s had at least two steals in six of those games with a career-high six vs. Georgia on Feb. 24.
• LSU’S LEGEND: Former Tigers coach John Brady, who led his team to the 2006 Final Four, will be honored at halftime as the school’s SEC Basketball Legend. Brady is one of only three coaches to take LSU to the Final Four.
By the numbers
1.23 — Positive assist-to-turnover ratio this season for LSU (428 assists/346 turnovers), which was tied for fifth in the 14-team SEC. The 2016-17 Tigers finished the season at 0.88.
LSU Tigers (17-13, 8-10 SEC)
• G Tremont Waters, 5-11, Fr., 15.6 ppg, 5.9 apg
• G Skylar Mays, 6-4, So., 11.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg
• G Daryl Edwards, 6-3, Jr., 6.7 ppg, 1.5 rpg
• F Aaron Epps, 6-10, Sr., 9.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg
• F Duop Reath, 6-11, Sr., 12.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg
• F Wayde Sims, 6-6, So., 5.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg
• G Randy Onwuasor, 6-3, Sr., 4.6 ppg, 2.0 rpg
• G Brandon Rachal, 6-5, Fr., 4.2 ppg, 3.0 rpg
Mississippi State Bulldogs (21-10, 9-9 SEC)
• G Nick Weatherspoon, 6-2, Fr., 11.1 ppg, 2.1 rpg
• G Lamar Peters, 6-0, So., 9.2 ppg, 4.0 apg
• G Quinndary Weatherspoon, 6-4, Jr., 14.7 ppg, 5.9 rpg
• F Abdul Ado, 6-11, Fr., 7.9 ppg, 6.5 rpg
• F Aric Holman, 6-10, Jr., 10.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg
• G Xavian Stapleton, 6-6, Jr., 6.3 ppg, 2.5 rpg
• G Tyson Carter, 6-4, So., 8.7 ppg, 1.9 rpg
• G Eli Wright, 6-4, So., 3.4 ppg, 2.3 rpg