Opening tip: LSU vs. North Carolina State _lowres

The LSU team practices at the Consol Energy Center for an NCAA college basketball second round game in Pittsburgh Wednesday, March 18, 2015. North Carolina State plays LSU on Thursday. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)


Opening Tip is posted about five hours before each game this season.

General Info

What: No. 9 seed LSU (22-10) vs. No. 8 seed North Carolina State (20-13)

When: 8:20 p.m. Thursday (approximately)

Where: Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, Pa.

All-time series: First meeting


Radio: WDGL-FM, 98.1; WWL-AM, 870; KLWB-FM, 103.7

In game Twitter updates: @MicklesAdvocate

Up next: The LSU-North Carolina State winners will meet the Lafayette-Villanova winner in the third round on Saturday, time to be announced

Starting Five

BACK IN THE DANCE: LSU is appearing in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2009 and 21st time in program history. The Tigers have a 24-23 all-time record. In their last appearance in 2009, LSU defeated Butler (75-71) before being eliminated by North Carolina (84-70).

FOR OPENERS: LSU is 11-9 in its first game in the tournament with two victories in a row. The Tigers beat Iona 80-64 in 2006 to begin its run to the Final Four and defeated Butler 75-71 in 2009. LSU’s last loss in its first NCAA tournament game was in 2005 against UAB (82-68).

TOURNAMENT SUCCESS: Over the years, LSU has advanced to four Final Fours, six Elite Eights and nine Sweet 16s. The Tigers are 0-6 in the Final Four — including losses in 1953 and 1981 in the consolation game, which is no longer played.

DOUBLE-TRIPLE: According to the LSU Sports Information Department, LSU and Arkansas are the only Southeastern Conference schools to play in a bowl game and have their men’s and women’s basketball teams in the NCAA tournament this school year. Only 12 other schools can say that.

LOUISIANA PROUD: LSU coach Johnny Jones is only the fifth coach of a Louisiana school to lead his alma mater to the NCAA tournament. The others are Jim McCafferty (Loyola), Mike Vining (UL-Monroe), Tommy Joe Eagles (Louisiana Tech) and Billy Kennedy (Southeastern).

Know Your Opponent

North Carolina State relies heavily on a three-guard attack with Trevor Lacey; Ralston Turner, a former LSU player; and Anthony Barber. That three-headed monster combined to average 41.1 of the Wolfpack’s 70.4 points per game for the season. Lacey led the way with 15.8 points, while Turner and Barber got 13.2 and 12.1 points per game, respectively. They were just as consistent in ACC play as they teamed up to average 40.9 points per outing. Even though they aren’t the biggest team around down low, North Carolina State starts a pair of 6-foot-8 forwards in Abdul-Malik Abu and Lennard Freeman and comes off the bench with 6-9, 300-pound forward BeeJay Anya. North Carolina State has won six of its last eight games after losing six of eight at midseason and falling to 14-11.

The Lineups

LSU (22-10)

Probable Starters

G Jalyn Patterson, 6-1, Fr., 6.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg

G Keith Hornsby, 6-4, Jr., 13.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg

G Tim Quarterman, 6-6, So., 11.3 ppg, 3.9 apg

F Jarell Martin, 6-10, So., 16.9 ppg, 9.2 rpg

F Jordan Mickey, 6-8, So., 15.5 ppg, 9.8 rpg

Top reserves

G Josh Gray, 6-1, Jr., 7.2 ppg, 3.9 apg

C Darcy Malone, 7-0, So., 0.9 ppg, 1.5 rpg

F Brian Bridgewater, 6-5, So., 2.2 ppg, 1.1 rpg

North Carolina State (20-13)

Probable Starters

G Trevor Lacey, 6-3, Jr., 15.8 ppg, 3.4 apg

G Anthony Barber, 6-2, So., 12.1 ppg, 3.8 apg

G Ralston Turner, 6-6, Sr., 13.2 ppg, 3.3 rpg

F Abdul-Malik Abu, 6-8, Fr., 6.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg

F Lennard Freeman, 6-8, So., 3.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg

Top reserves

F BeeJay Anya, 6-9, So., 4.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg

F Caleb Martin, 6-6, Fr., 5.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg

F Cody Martin, 6-6, Fr., 3.4 ppg, 2.0 rpg