While it would’ve been great to start Southeastern Conference play with three wins in a row, LSU basketball coach Johnny Jones said Monday his team has done a good job coming out of the gate.
Still, with games coming up against Ole Miss on Wednesday night and Saturday against Arkansas in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, the Tigers will have an opportunity to build on a 2-1 start in the league.
LSU defeated Vanderbilt, the team picked to finish second in the SEC, on the road and blew out preseason favorite Kentucky before falling 68-62 at Florida, which was tabbed for a sixth-place finish, on Saturday.
“Our team did a good job over the first three games,” Jones said Monday. “We’d certainly love to be undefeated sitting at 3-0, but 2-1 with the schedule presented to us … we might have had the toughest schedule in the conference with the way we had to start off.”
After topping Vanderbilt and Kentucky, LSU had to go on the road to face a Florida team that had been embarrassed three nights earlier at Tennessee.
“Getting into a game like we did Saturday on the road, you’re hopeful that you’re able to carry those two (wins) over,” Jones said. “(Florida) had been beaten and they only had an opportunity to come out one way. They fought to have a chance and did the best of that. They came out and played very hard.”
OU game to tip at 4 p.m.
The Jan. 30 game with Oklahoma in the Southeastern Conference/Big 12 Challenge has been slotted for a 4 p.m. tipoff in the PMAC and will be televised by ESPN.
The third annual showdown between the two conferences will feature 10 games, all in one day, with the games being televised by the ESPN family of networks.
Alumni weekend set
Former LSU players and staff members will gather this weekend for a celebration that will highlight the anniversary years of the last three Final Four teams.
The 1981 and ’86 teams coached by Dale Brown and the 2006 team coached by John Brady will celebrate the 35th, 30th and 10th anniversaries of their visit to the national semifinals.
They, and other alumni, will be recognized at Saturday night’s game with Arkansas.
Coaches Charity Challenge
Jones is one of 48 coaches nationwide taking part in the Coaches Charity Challenge, which is held in partnership with the National Association of Basketball Coaches, the NCAA and ESPN.
Coaches compete for fan votes in a four-round contest that helps raise money for charities of the coach’s choice. Jones has chosen as his recipient the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank.
Fans decide who the winner is over the next 10 weeks, casting votes online at www.espn.com/infiniti. Voters may cast one vote per day for a coach with the first round running through Jan. 24.
Brown to speak
The January edition of the Johnny Jones Tipoff Luncheon will be held Tuesday at the L’Auberge Casino Resort in Baton Rouge.
The featured speaker will be Brown, the winningest coach in school history with 448 victories in 25 seasons from 1972-97.
The buffet-style luncheon, which is held in the Bon Temps Buffet in the back of the casino area, costs $14.99. Lunch begins at 11:30 a.m. with the program set to begin around 12:10 p.m.
Follow Sheldon Mickles on Twitter, @MicklesAdvocate.