In our four-factor preview of the Tennessee-LSU game, the numbers suggested that there were two primary keys to the game: defend without
In one sense, the Vols lost the game 82-80 at the moment normally-reliable Lamonte Turner launched a three-point attempt too early with the score tied and the clock winding down, setting the stage for a possible LSU rebound and fast break and a Grant Williams foul to prevent it. English professors everywhere are tearing up at the previous sentence, but it all happened so incredibly fast that the situation calls for a run-on. Instead of Tennessee getting the last shot, LSU not only got the ball last, they got it at the free throw line.
But the game came down to that last play because Tennessee failed at one of the primary keys of the game, despite doing a good job at the other. Plus, they were once again uncharacteristically sloppy in the turnover department.
Effective Field Goal Percentage
Heading into the game, we said that the numbers showed a distinct advantage for Tennessee on both sides of the ball when it came to shooting percentage. That was indeed the case, as the Vols shot 44.8% from the field and 36.4% from the arc while holding LSU to 38.5% and 32%.
This was Tennessee’s primary advantage, and they made sure it mattered during the game.
Here’s what we said about turnovers in our game preview:
This game appears to feature a team in Tennessee that is good at protecting the ball going up against a team in LSU that is good at forcing turnovers, while on the other side of the ball, LSU likes to give it away but Tennessee doesn’t do much to force the issue. Hopefully, the Vols’ offense will be more in synch and will not give the game away by giving up too many turnovers on offense.
Offensive Rebounding Percentage
After looking at all of the numbers, we concluded that one of the keys to the game was keeping LSU off the offensive glass, and the team actually did a decent job of that.
Tennessee held LSU to its average of 13 offensive boards, an accomplishment for a team that isn’t very good at keeping opponents from getting their own misses. Meanwhile, the Vols had 13 o-rebounds of their own. This was one of the keys to the game, and Tennessee did a good job executing.
Free Throw Rate
Unfortunately, an even bigger key to the game was keeping LSU off of the foul line, and the Vols failed in that department. The Tigers are averaging 24.2 trips to the foul line per game, and they got there 31 times against the Vols. Tennessee only got to the line 16 times.
Prior to the game, Tennessee’s defensive free throw rate was No. 182; it’s now No. 195.
In a two-point game, getting to the line 15 more times than your opponent makes all the difference.