BATON ROUGE – The LSU men’s basketball team will make its first appearance on ESPN’s highly regarded tipoff marathon as it opens its season on Nov. 12 at 10 a.m. CST at the University of Massachusetts.
The tip time was announced by the network as it released the games in the marathon every two hours starting on Sunday night and continuing through the day on Monday.
The Marathon has become a hoops fans dream over the years and this year will feature three games that will tip at midnight in the respective time zones – Western Kentucky at Wichita State (midnight CST); Akron at St. Mary’s (2 a.m. CST) and the tradition “Hawaii slot” that has New Mexico State at Hawaii (4 a.m. CST).
To start the day prior to the LSU-UMass game will be Hartford at Florida Gulf Coast (6 a.m. CST) and Quinnipiac at La Salle (8 a.m. CST).
The LSU-UMass game will be played in the 9,500-seat Mullins Center in Amherst, Mass., and this will be the first meeting between the two teams.
The Tigers under second-year head coach Johnny Jones returns star player Johnny O'Bryant III along with seniors Andre Stringer and Shavon Coleman. LSU brings in what is listed in the composite ranking as the fifth best signing class in the country. LSU was 9-9 in the SEC last year after starting out 0-4 and 19-12 overall.
UMass was 21-12 a year ago and 9-5 in the Atlantic 10. The team was 9-5 at home a year ago including a 67-64 win over Harvard in last year’s ESPN Tip-Off Marathon.
In ESPN’s summary of the game, here is what college basketball blogger Eamonn Brennan said of the contest –
“Typically, LSU fans devote more time to the mechanics of Les Miles' grass-chew habit than they do basketball, and in recent seasons it's been hard to argue with that order of priorities. The Tigers simply have not been very good. That may be changing. Johnny Jones' team returns four starters from a better-than-you-remember 19-12, 2012-13 group. But the biggest piece of news is the arrival of Jarell Martin, the No. 11-ranked overall player in a stacked incoming recruiting class. The Baton Rouge native took to basketball later than most, but he's already developed into an imposing (if somewhat raw) presence. If his development curve continues to do its best hockey stick impression throughout the rest of the summer, look out for the Tigers. Oh, and don't sleep on UMass -- one of the most stylistically entertaining teams in the country, with a solid returning core -- either. This could be one of those games that looks huge once bubble talk ramps up.”