With 2½ weeks to go before his team’s regular-season opener against Gardner Webb, LSU basketball coach Johnny Jones was thinking more Tuesday about what will come much later during the 2014-15 season.
Jones gave a quick update on his team, which completed its third week of preseason practice later Tuesday afternoon, during his first monthly Tipoff Luncheon at the L’Auberge Resort.
While he’s certainly excited about the prospects for a team that features six new faces, Jones clearly had an eye on the Southeastern Conference race that won’t begin until Jan. 8 after the Tigers were picked to finish fourth at SEC media days last week.
“Our conference is going to be tough,” Jones said, noting that Kentucky is the nation’s preseason No. 1 after John Calipari signed the nation’s top recruiting class. “Kentucky is the No. 1 team in the country and they’re picked to win our league.”
Jones also talked about Florida, which, along with Kentucky, made it to the Final Four a year ago and two teams that didn’t make the NCAA tournament — Georgia and Arkansas — but return all of their key players.
“That is how competitive and tough our league is,” he said. “Tennessee made it to the Sweet 16, so that’s the type of league we are in. But we’re excited about it.
“We feel like the league is bigger, better, stronger than it was a year ago,” he added. “It will certainly be very competitive and we’re excited to meet the challenges in front of us this year.”
LSU in the NBA
The NBA opened its 2014-15 season Tuesday night with six former LSU players on rosters of the 30 teams.
Four of the six are Baton Rouge natives: Brandon Bass (Capitol) and Marcus Thornton (Tara) are now teammates with the Boston Celtics, while Garrett Temple and Glen Davis (University High) are with the Washington Wizards and Los Angeles Clippers, respectively.
Also making Opening Day rosters were Justin Hamilton with the Miami Heat and Johnny O’Bryant III with the Milwaukee Bucks.
O’Bryant, a second-round pick of the Bucks in June, starts the season on the injured list after suffering a sprained knee earlier this month.
Individual tickets for eight non-conference home games will go on sale Wednesday at the LSU Athletics Ticket Office and online at LSUtix.net.
The athletic department announced that group tickets, season tickets and mini-plans in the Pick 3 and Pick 5 variety are also still available.
The Tigers will play a Nov. 7 exhibition game against Morehouse at 7 p.m. that will be free and open to the public the night before the LSU-Alabama football game. The first non-conference game is the regular-season opener against Gardner Webb on Nov. 15 at noon.
Individual game tickets for eight SEC games will be available starting Dec. 8. Tickets for the Feb. 10 game with Kentucky go on sale Jan. 12.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the Website at www.LSUtix.net or call (225) 578-2184 or (800) 960-8587.
Follow Sheldon Mickles on Twitter @MicklesAdvocate.