BATON ROUGE - The LSU men's basketball team concludes the month of January with another difficult assignment - a Saturday date at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center with the nation's No. 1 ranked basketball team, the Kentucky Wildcats.
LSU (12-8, 2-4) and Kentucky (20-1, 6-0) will tip off at just after 3 p.m. in a game to be televised by the SEC Network (In Louisiana: Alexandra-KLAX-DT; Baton Rouge-WAFB; Lafayette-KADN; Lake Charles-KVHP; Monroe-KARD; New Orleans-WUPL; Shreveport-KMSS). The affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network will have the broadcast beginning at 2:30 p.m. (New Country 100.7 FM The Tiger in Baton Rouge) and in the Geaux Zone at LSUsports.net.
Tickets remain on sale at LSUTix.net starting at $18 for adults ($5 for youth ages 3-12). LSU students receive admission free of charge with a valid student ID.
This will be the 18th time LSU has faced a No. 1 ranked team in the Associated Press poll since its inception in the late 1940s and LSU is 3-14 against No. 1 AP teams. LSU has defeated Kentucky once in the seven times the teams have played when the Wildcats are topped ranked, the 95-94 win in Baton Rouge in 1978.
LSU's other wins against top-ranked teams came in 2002 against Arizona in Baton Rouge and LSU's win over No. 1 Duke in Atlanta in the regional semifinal in 2006. The last SEC No. 1 to play in Baton Rouge was Arkansas on March 2, 1994, when LSU lost to the Razorbacks, 108-105. The last No. 1 LSU faced was in the second round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament, when LSU lost to eventual national champion, North Carolina, 84-70.
The Wildcats come into the game off a 57-44 win at Georgia on Tuesday night. Darius Miller led Kentucky with 19 points as he was 7-of-8 from the field and a perfect 4-of-4 from the arc. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist added 14 points and 11 boards for Coach John Calipari's Wildcats.
LSU, meanwhile, was concluding one of its most difficult January road schedules, having to make two back-to-back road trips with three of the teams nationally ranked. Wednesday night, LSU lost a 76-71 decision at Mississippi State.
State used an 11-0 run early in the second half and a big rebounding edge to establish momentum but down nine with 1:50 to play, LSU staged a big comeback as Anthony Hickey hit three treys and Ralston Turner one to get LSU within one point in the final seconds. Andre Stringer led LSU with 17 points, while Hickey had 16 and Justin Hamilton had his seventh straight double figure game with 11.
Johnny O'Bryant III returned after his broken bone in his left hand suffered on Jan. 4. O'Bryant played 20 minutes and had six points, showing no ill effects from the injury.
The Wildcats have six players that averaged in double figures, led by Doron Lamb at 13.7 points per game with Kidd-Gilchrist and Anthony Davis both averaging 13.2 a contest.
"One of the things John (Calipari) does well that I don't think he gets enough credit for, forget how talented they are and forget about how talented the teams he had are, he gets a lot of guys that are really talented to play hard and guard," said LSU Coach Trent Johnson. "They play hard, and they take no prisoners. That's the thing I have always been impressed with going back to when I first studied his teams from UMass on. They play really hard."
After Saturday's game, the Tigers have a week off before opening February play with a Feb. 4 game at home against the University of Arkansas.
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LSU Men's Basketball - All-Time Against AP No. 1 Teams
Jan. 31, 1951 - No. 1 Kentucky 81, LSU 59 - Baton Rouge, La.
March 1, 1952 - No. 1 Kentucky 44, LSU 43 - Louisville, Ky.
March 17, 1953 - No. 1 Indiana 80, No. 7 LSU 57 - Kansas City, Mo.
March 9, 1954 - No. 1 Kentucky 63, No. 8 LSU 56 - Nashville, Tenn.
Jan. 17, 1955 - No. 1 Kentucky 64, LSU 62 - Baton Rouge, La.
Jan. 10, 1959 - No. 1 Kentucky 76, LSU 61 - Baton Rouge, La.
Jan. 14, 1978 - No. 1 Kentucky 96, LSU 76 - Lexington, Ky.
Jan. 20, 1978 - No. 1 DePaul 78, No. 14 LSU 75 - Chicago, Ill.
Feb. 11, 1978 - LSU 95, No. 1 Kentucky 94 - Baton Rouge, La.
Jan. 29, 1984 - No. 1 North Carolina 90, No. 10 LSU 79 - Chapel Hill, N.C.
Dec. 8, 1992 - No. 1 Duke 77, No. 22 LSU 67 - Baton Rouge
Dec. 22, 1992 - No. 1 Duke 96, LSU 67 - Lahaina, Hawaii
March 2, 1994 - No. 1 Arkansas 108, LSU 105 - Baton Rouge
Dec. 20, 2000 - No. 1 Arizona 88, LSU 75 - Tucson, Ariz.
Dec. 21, 2002 - LSU 66, No. 1 Arizona 64 - Baton Rouge, La.
March 23, 2006 - No. 19 LSU 62, No. 1 Duke 54 - Atlanta, Ga.
March 19, 2009 -- No. 1 North Carolina 84, LSU 70 - Greensboro, N.C.