Exams week not only affords the LSU basketball team an opportunity to finish strong in the classroom, it provides some much-needed bonus practice time on the court.
Working around finals, Will Wade was able to schedule some two-a-day practice sessions this week for the first time since preseason workouts ended in early November.
“We have had a good week of practice,” Wade said Thursday at his monthly tipoff luncheon. “It’s the first time since the preseason that we’ve been able to get back and work on ourselves.”
Playing eight games in the 26 days since the regular season started on Nov. 6, Wade said, made it difficult to find time to work on some concerns that have cropped up in the Tigers’ 6-2 start.
“We’ve had a game every two or three days leading up to this point,” he said. “We have just been preparing for other teams and working on other teams.
“Really, it’s the first time we’ve been able to focus on ourselves, study our own tendencies and try to change what we’re doing to fit our scheme a little better around our personnel and put our guys in a little bit better position.”
Wade said the emphasis has been on three main areas: Turnovers, transition defense and rebounding — particularly turnovers.
In their first four games, the Tigers averaged 11.8 turnovers a game; in the next four games, the miscues rose to 16.2 per game with 19 in a 21-point victory over Grambling on Saturday.
It was the highest turnover total in Wade’s 41 games at LSU, topping the 18 giveaways the Tigers had just two games earlier in a loss to Florida State.
“Usually, in practice, we give them 10 turnovers on the house because that’s what we want in a game (10 or fewer),” he said. “But the house has been upset this week, so nothing is free this week.
“If you have a turnover, you immediately go do some conditioning on the side. We’re trying to get turnovers under control.”
Edwards still ailing
Wade said there is no timetable yet for the return of senior guard Daryl Edwards, who missed the game against Grambling with leg soreness that’s related to bone growth.
“It’s one of those deals where the more rest we can get him, the better he’ll be able to function,” Wade said. “There’s no cure for it. We’re trying to stimulate his bone growth.
“It’ll be one of those deals where he plays two games in a row, sits two games in a row. He may play one game, then sit a game. We’re just going to have to go with how his body and how his leg feels.”
Coaching for Literacy
Wade and his coaching staff will wear green ties, lapel pins and wristbands as part of the Fight for Literacy program during Sunday’s 1 p.m. game with Incarnate Word in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The goal of the Coaching for Literacy initiative is to raise awareness about the issues connected to illiteracy on a national and statewide basis. Wade pointed out this week that in Louisiana, only 26 percent of fourth-grade students are reading at a proficient level.
Fans can participate by making a flat donation to the cause or by pledging a certain amount of money for every assist LSU collects over the next four games. To donate, go to www.pledgeit.org/tigersforliteracy.
In addition to the Fight for Literacy campaign, LSU will be collecting new, unwrapped toys at Sunday’s game.
Fans bringing a new, unwrapped toy to the main ticket window at the Maravich Center will gain free admission to the game against Incarnate Word.
The upper concourse box office windows will open at 11:30 a.m.