SEC Mississippi LSU Basketball

LSU basketball coach Will Wade said Wednesday his team's health is improving as it prepares for the season opener against UL-Monroe on Tuesday night in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

After three full weeks of preseason practice, Will Wade finally will get a chance to see his LSU basketball team under game conditions Saturday.

It’s not the regular season, but it nonetheless will be an important step toward the Nov. 9 season opener against UL-Monroe in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

While Saturday’s 1 p.m. exhibition with Nicholls State in Thibodaux won’t count in the standings, it’ll give Wade and his coaching staff a glimpse of their new-look team against someone other than themselves.

The exhibition will take the place of one of two preseason scrimmages allowed by the NCAA, and all proceeds are going to Hurricane Ida relief. Tickets are $10 each and available at NichollsTickets.com or at the Stopher Gymnasium ticket windows.

Wade would like to get a better look at his team — which includes nine scholarship players who have never played in a real game for LSU — but the Tigers will be limited because of several bumps and bruises and one major injury earlier this week.

Guard Adam Miller, an Illinois transfer, will be sidelined for the entire season after tearing his right ACL in practice Tuesday, while several other players have been dealing with the usual injury issues that come from three hard weeks of practice.

Even though it will be less than ideal, Wade is eager to see what he has.

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“Look, we’ve got to see how guys can react in game situations,” he said. “A lot of guys will be out there for their first time playing in a college game. So, we’ll get to see how they react and see how they go about things.”

As of Friday morning, Wade was trying to figure out who will be available and who won’t when they go against a Nicholls State team that won the Southland Conference regular-season title a year ago.

“It’ll be a good learning experience for us,” he said. “I just want to see how we react in game situations. It’ll be a bunch of young guys against older guys, but we’ll learn some things.”

Topping the list are his team’s transition defense and rebounding on both ends of the floor.

“We’ll get to see how we are in those areas,” Wade said.

The Tigers will play a closed-door scrimmage against an undisclosed team at an undisclosed site, in accordance with NCAA rules, the following Saturday.

Email Sheldon Mickles at smickles@theadvocate.com