BATON ROUGE - The LSU men's basketball team plays the first of three consecutive home games to open the 2010-11 season Friday night at 7 p.m. against the Northwestern State Demons in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
There is no television for the game but the game will be broadcast on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network (WTGE New Country 100.7 FM The Tiger in Baton Rouge). An "HD quality" video feed along with the radio broadcast will be available to members of the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net/live.
Tickets are available for $10 and $5 for youth (ages 3-12) online at www.LSUtix.net and will be on sale at the upper concourse ticket windows of the Maravich Center beginning at 5:30 p.m.
LSU students are admitted free with their student ID and this will be the first of many games this year with the student lounge tent area outside Portal U on the upper ramp of the PMAC. There will be free food and drink there prior to the game for the Maravich Maniacs and this will mark the first of several games in which former LSU players will be on hand to meet and greet with the Maniacs prior to the game.
Friday's opener will feature All-American Durand "Rudy" Macklin in the student lounge beginning at 5:45 p.m. Macklin, whose jersey was retired last year in ceremonies at the PMAC, led LSU to the 1981 NCAA Final Four and is second all-time in scoring and the all-time leading rebounder in LSU history.
Also at the PMAC Friday, one student will be chosen to walk out onto the Tiger Stadium field for the coin toss at the LSU-ULM football game on Saturday. Students can also sign up for Maravich Maniacs rewards ranging from free t-shirts to a $500 gift certificate from Academy Sports + Outdoors.
The Tigers and Demons are meeting for the fourth-straight year and LSU had its hands full in getting a 73-68 win over Northwestern State in a mid-December game a year ago. It was a down year for both teams with LSU 11-20 and the Demons 10-19. LSU has a new athletic class of freshman that will debut on Friday, while Northwestern State brings back an experienced team under longtime coach Mike McConathy.
"One thing Northwestern State will do is change defenses and try to get you out of rhythm. Their four and five guys are undersized athletes who put the ball on the floor whether it is in transition or in the half court. I don't expect anything but their best obviously," said LSU Coach Trent Johnson, who enter third season as the LSU head basketball coach. "Since I've been here, we've been very, very fortunate to beat Northwestern State. Obviously, last year was a back and forth affair, and my first year, if I recall right, we got some offensive performance from a couple of guys who are playing for money in the NBA right now."
Johnson feels at mid-week his team was the healthiest it has been during the entire preseason with both Dennis Harris and Garrett Green healthy and back at practice. Jalen Courtney sprained his ankle early in the week but is probable for the game as is Storm Warren, who sprained an ankle last week.
"I think the kids in general are looking forward to playing somebody for real now under the lights," said Johnson. "Two scrimmages give you a little feel, but again, I think they are tired of beating up on each other, and for me as a head coach, I want to look at a good rotation of nine or 10 guys and get this thing started."
Johnson Wednesday at the media session would not completely give a starting lineup but said if the game had been that day that freshman Ralston Turner and sophomore Aaron Dotson would start at the wings and Malcolm White (junior transfer from Ole Miss) would be one of the forwards. It is probable that either junior Chris Bass or freshman Andre Stringer will start at the point guard position with the other forward position occupied by either Storm Warren or Eddie Ludwig.
LSU will put an 81-game win streak on the line against Louisiana schools in the Maravich Center that dates back to Dec. 8, 1988 when it started with a narrow win over McNeese State.
LSU will play next on Tuesday against Nicholls State and Nov. 18 against Tennessee-Martin before playing away from Baton Rouge for the first time on Nov. 21 against Memphis in Tupelo, Miss.
LSU basketball can be followed on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LSUbasketball and on Twitter @LSUbasketball and @LSUCoachJohnson.