Coach Will Wade spoke Monday at the final Tipoff Luncheon delivered by UPS at L'Auberge Casino.
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Coach Wade Speaks To Final Tipoff Lunch Gathering

Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Communications Sr. Associate

BATON ROUGE – LSU men’s basketball coach Will Wade celebrated the excitement of a win on senior tribute day Saturday, but quickly turned toward a quick rematch with Mississippi State in the SEC Tournament as part of the discussion Monday at the final Tipoff Luncheon delivered by UPS took place at L’Auberge Casino.

The Tigers will leave after practice on Tuesday and will face Mississippi State on Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis in the third of four second round contests. There will be two games on Wednesday to open the tournament. The LSU-Mississippi State game will be televised by the SEC Network and broadcast on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network.

The winner of the LSU-MSU game will advance to Friday’s quarterfinal round and will face SEC Co-Champion and No. 2 seed Tennessee in a 6 p.m. CT contest.

Following the luncheon, Coach Wade met briefly with the media and here were some of those comments:

On the challenges of facing a team twice in one week …
“You just don’t know exactly what they are going to counter with, do something different than what they did the first time. We are going to need a bunch of different things prepared so we can counter back with what they are doing. It is really going to be a game that we are going to have to get into the flow of the game and see what they are doing and adjust accordingly.”

On if the team needs to come out with more intensity to beat MSU again …
“What worked the first time isn’t going to work a second time. Mississippi State is going to be ready to play. We were at home, it was senior night, very emotional, charged atmosphere, so we are going to have to come out and ratchet it up another level. What worked on Saturday certainly won’t work on Thursday at six.”

On if the regular season exceeded his expectations …
“I don’t look at it like that. If you asked me in October, I would take where we are now. If you asked me in January, I wouldn’t have been real pleased. I think we got better as the season went on, which is what you want as a coach. We got quite a bit out of our guys, but I think we left some stuff on the table which is frustrating. We left three or four games on the table that were pretty critical games that could have helped us out here.”

On if he needs to scrap what they did on Saturday against MSU …
“We are not going to completely scrap what we did, but we are going to have to have some counters ready and some different things ready based on what we think may work, or what we think they may do. There are certainly some areas that we need to clean up. We had two live ball turnovers in the second half that they converted into layups, we missed a few layups, our transition defense was poor, there are some actions we didn’t guard very well, and we didn’t guard their roll and replace action very well. There are some things that we need to clean up as well.”

On how he approaches conference tournaments …
“I have always come from a school where you win the one in front of you, put everything you have into winning that one, then figure it out the next day, and then if you are fortunate enough to win, you figure it out the next day. We are just putting everything we have into Mississippi State. Today we will work on our team a little bit, and then Tuesday and Wednesday we will work more on Mississippi State. From there it is all about Mississippi State, winning that game on Thursday, and then we will certainly see where we are after that, and make any adjustments to get ready for the next one.”

On if there are any positives to playing a team twice in a row …
“It is an easier preparation. You just prepare for them. Your guys can learn from your game and be able to see themselves. There is some positive to it. Just the familiarity of it.”

On where he sees the most growth from his team …
“I think we have gotten better defensively. We have hung in there, rebounded pretty well these last couple of games. We have proven that in those areas. Our offense is scoring a little bit more. Making threes at a little bit better clip. We have been tighter overall.”

On which player has made the biggest improvement since the beginning of the season …
“I think we have a lot of guys that have improved. Tre (Tremont Waters) played 13 minutes in the Tulane scrimmage (in November). He is pretty good now.”

On where he sees LSU being better and where he sees MSU being better …
“Their guard play is tremendous with (Lamar) Peters and the (Nick and Quinndary) Weatherspoon brothers. (Abdul) Ado is a big-time shot blocker, big time presence. The key to the game Saturday was us being able to get to the foul line and get Ado into foul trouble. I thought that really helped us.”

On if he has goals for getting certain players a certain amount of touches …
“Well, no. You just kind of have to see how the game goes. (Brandon) Sampson played well. Tremont played well, and obviously Duop (Reath) and (Aaron) Epps played well. We got some good defensive contributions from (Brandon) Rachal and some other guys. You just never know. It is a feeling out process. It was more of an offensive game for us, so we played more offensive oriented guys. Thursday we may be more of a defensive game where we have to play more defensive guys. You have to get into the game and feel it out, see where it goes.”

On why the NIT would be an important step for the LSU men’s basketball program …
“I just think from where we were last year to where we are now is a big improvement. For us to continue to play in the postseason would be important. Our guys want to play. Our guys are excited to continue to play. Our guys like being around each other. Our guys enjoy what is going on. It is my job as a head coach to, if they want to keep playing, make sure I do everything possible to keep playing.”

On winning the final six home games …
“It would be nice if we could win on the road. We have certainly played better on the road. We are homebodies right now. We need a little bit more toughness to us so we can go on the road and win some games.”



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