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|LSU to face Butler Thursday in NCAA tournament|
BATON ROUGE -- After winning the Southeastern Conference regular-season title, the No. 8-seeded LSU men's basketball team (26-7) received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and will face No. 9-seed Butler (26-5) on Thursday, March 19, at 11:20 a.m. CDT in Greensboro, N.C.
Thursday's NCAA South Region meeting will be the first in school history against the Bulldogs. Butler won the regular-season title in the Horizon League and lost in the conference's tournament championship game to Cleveland St.
The winner of the Butler-LSU contest will face the winner of top-seeded North Carolina or No. 16-seeded Radford (Thursday, 1:50 p.m. CDT) on Saturday, March 21.
The region's semifinal and final will be played in Memphis' FedExForum. The Final Four will be held in Detroit's Ford Field.
View NCAA Tournament Central on LSUsports.net for complete details.
NCAA Tournament Ticket Info
LSU men's basketball season ticket holders are invited to request NCAA Tournament Tickets until 5 p.m. CDT on Monday, March 16. To make requests, login here, call (225) 578-2184 or (800) 960-8587, or visit the LSU Athletic Ticket Office on the first floor of the LSU Athletic Administration Building.
Tickets are $61 per session and are available only for the session(s) in which LSU plays. If LSU advances to the second round on Saturday, all ticket holders from Thursday's game will automatically receive tickets to the second-round game. Tickets will be allocated in LSU Priority Point order and if demand exceeds supply, ticket limitations may be implemented.
Season ticket holders who make requests will be notified about the status of the request via email on Tuesday, March 17. All tickets must be picked up by the ticket holder of record in Greensboro, N.C., at a time and location TBD.
LSU Students may make requests at www.lsusports.net/studenttickets.
LSU Coach Trent Johnson and players Garrett Temple and Tasmin Mitchell met with the media moments after the team watched the Selection Sunday release of the brackets in the team squad room. Here are selected comments after the announcement was made:
LSU HEAD COACH TRENT JOHNSON
"It's a new season, and here we go. We are going to Greensboro (N.C.) and playing a very good Butler team."
On his reaction to the seeding...
"I'm happy to still be playing. My reactions are usually the same. We still have an opportunity to play, so I'm happy for the guys, and now we have work to do."
On if LSU's finish affected its seeding...
"I don't know because I'm not on the selection committee. I just know we had opportunities down the stretch to win our share of games, and we didn't. I don't know how that affects the seeding."
On the upcoming week...
"For the players, it's pretty much the same, but for us as coaches, as opposed to getting an hour of sleep, we don't get any. We have our share of tape on Butler. The good thing about it is that it's a Thursday-Saturday schedule, so it's almost like a week format. As soon I get through here, I'll go over and watch tape. We'll get a scouting report together, and we'll meet tomorrow around 3 p.m., and we'll have something for them ready to go. We'll have a normal week routine. We'll practice Monday and Tuesday and hopefully get out Tuesday night."
On what he knows about Butler off the top of his head...
"They're well-coached and very skilled. Obviously they were ranked throughout the year. I distinctly remember watching them play against a very good, well-coached Cleveland State team and against Xavier. At this time of year, there are 65 teams, and the big thing is matchups. Obviously, they are going to be mentally and physically very tough. They are very skilled on the perimeter and in the post."
On if he would encourage the older players to talk to the younger players about their Final Four experience...
"No, I wouldn't have them reflect on that because this is a different team. That's all in the past. This is all different; this is new. One of the things that I'm a strong advocate of is that this is the NCAA tournament. We just got through the SEC tournament, but the game is the most important thing. We need to continue doing the things that we've done all year long to make ourselves successful and try to enjoy it."
On if getting the offense back on track is the most important thing to being successful...
"The players aren't trying to miss shots. They're not trying to miss free throws. For me, I evaluate good shots and bad shots. We are getting the right guys shooting the ball, and they are shooting it with confidence. It's just unfortunate that sometimes they don't go down. I will always dwell on our effort, our ability to execute and play together and not try to do too much. This group has been very good and very consistent, so nothing will change in terms of our approach on the offensive side of the ball."
On the difference between the team that started 13-1 in SEC play and the one that lost three out of four down the stretch...
"We're playing against good teams, better teams and a play or two down the stretch. When we went on that 10-game winning streak, we weren't blowing people out. We were making plays at crucial times. The ball was going down for us, and we had some really good performances. A week before we played Kentucky in Lexington, I made a comment to the group that everyone we play from here on out is going to be really good, and things were going to get tougher. As opposed to overanalyzing what went wrong, our margin of error has been slim all year long, and it just so happens that a play here or there cost us a game or two."
Guard Garrett Temple
On the matchup and the seeding...
"I wasn't surprised. I knew people were throwing around the idea of being a five, six or seven seed. We got an eight seed. We play against another team that's very good. It shows that they (NCAA committee) don't have a lot of respect for the Southeastern Conference. We just have to get our mind right and go face a good Butler team."
On if losing three of four down the stretch affected their seeding...
"The committee does look at the hot teams and the cold teams and the teams that have been playing well and have not. We haven't been playing well as of late, especially offensively. We got a little complacent. We clinched the SEC early and haven't played as well as we should have been lately, so obviously that had something to do with that selection."
On how his mindset changes going into this tournament as opposed to the last time they were in...
"It doesn't change that much. As a freshman, my mindset was that we were in the NCAA tournament and just play. It wasn't much pressure, just play. That year we were a four seed. This year we are an eight seed. We kind of feel like we have something to prove. We just have to let the other guys know that there is no tomorrow. You can only worry about the present because it's one-game elimination, and that's the end of the season. We just have to take it one game at a time."
Forward Tasmin Mitchell
On if losing three of four down the stretch affected their seeding...
"Yes, I think so. Losing always affects your seeding, especially losing the last three out of four games. It's a lack of respect that people have for the SEC schools."
On this team's similarities to the Final Four team in 2006...
"The personalities were different in 2006. We had Glen Davis, Tyrus Thomas and Darrel Mitchell. This team is similar because everyone has the will and the want to win. Our team chemistry is there. We understand what we want to do as a team."
On if the key to success is getting the offense back on track...
"Yes, the key is good offense, and the defense will take care of itself. Defense wins championships, so if we get our offense back, it will add to what we can do on the defensive end."
(Report courtesy of lsusports.net)