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LSU among the last four teams in on latest ESPN bracket

With less than seven weeks to go before the NCAA’s Selection Sunday, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has included LSU in his updated version of Bracketology released Monday morning — barely.

Lunardi has LSU, which claimed a road win at Alabama on Saturday, as one of the last four teams in and has the Tigers playing in the First Four in Dayton, Ohio.

LSU is not on the CBSSports.com bracket put together by Jerry Palm.

Lunardi’s ESPN bracket, which will change hundreds of times over the next 48 days, has LSU playing Cincinnati with the survivor to receive the No. 11 seed in the East regional.

The LSU/Cincinnati winner would move on to St. Louis to face No. 6 seed Indiana.

LSU improved to 12-7 overall and 5-2 in Southeastern Conference play on Saturday with a 72-70 win against Alabama.

The Tigers have two huge home games this week, starting with Tuesday’s 8 p.m. matchup with Georgia. After that, the Tigers will face the nation’s top-ranked team, Oklahoma, in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge at 4 p.m. Saturday.

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Opening Tip: LSU at Alabama

Opening Tip is posted about five hours before each game.

General Info

  • What: LSU (11-7, 4-2 SEC) at Alabama (10-7, 1-4 SEC)
  • When: 1 p.m. Saturday
  • Where: Coleman Coliseum, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
  • Streaking: LSU (L1), Alabama (L2)
  • All-time series: Alabama leads 103-70
  • Last meeting: LSU 71, Alabama 60 (Feb. 7, 2015 in Baton Rouge)
  • TV: ESPNU
  • Radio: WDGL-FM, 98.1; WWL-AM, 870; KLWB-FM, 103.7
  • In game Twitter updates: @MicklesAdvocate
  • Up next: LSU will host Georgia on Tuesday at 8 p.m. (ESPN)

Starting Five

  • THE LOST DECADE: LSU has dropped 10 games in a row in Tuscaloosa, a streak that began back in 2005. The Tigers lost in Coleman Coliseum every year from 2005-14, but they met only once a year ago in Baton Rouge. LSU’s last win in Coleman Coliseum was a 60-54 decision on Jan. 31, 2004.
  • RETURN TO TUSCALOOSA: LSU coach Johnny Jones was an assistant at Alabama during the 2000-01 season under former Crimson Tide coach Mark Gottfried. Jones left after that one season to become head coach at North Texas and was there from 2001-12 before being hired by LSU.
  • TICK-TOCK, TICK-TOCK: LSU is 9-0 this season and 60-7 under Jones, since he took over for the 2012-13 season, when holding a lead with 10 minutes to play. The Tigers are also 10-2 this season and 61-11 under Jones when holding a lead at the five-minute mark.
  • COMMON FOES: LSU has already defeated three of the four teams Alabama has lost to since conference play began three weeks ago. The Tigers beat Kentucky, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt, while the Tide fell to each of them. Alabama also lost to Auburn.
  • BEWARE THE TIDE: Alabama may be 1-4 in SEC play, but the Crimson Tide has some skins on the wall with more wins over top-25 teams (three) than anyone else in the league in tripping No. 20 Wichita State, No. 17 Notre Dame and No. 19 South Carolina — when the Gamecocks were 15-0.

Know Your Opponent

  • Alabama returns home after dropping a pair of games at Vanderbilt and Auburn, which came after the Crimson Tide’s huge 73-50 upset of unbeaten and 19th-ranked South Carolina on Jan. 13. Coach Avery Johnson’s team is led by 6-foot-2 senior guard Retin Obasohan, who is averaging 14.5 points a game after pouring in a career-high 27 in an 83-77 loss to Auburn on Tuesday night. Junior forward Shannon Hale is the only other Alabama player to average in double digits this season with 10.6 points per game with guard Arthur Edwards, a transfer from New Mexico, just behind at 9.6 points a game. Alabama ranks last in the 14-team league in scoring with 66.9 points a game, but the Crimson Tide is fifth in scoring defense in allowing just 66.7 an outing and is sixth in field-goal defense at 39.8 percent. Alabama is near the bottom of the league in rebounding with 34.4 per game, just a shade ahead of last-place Mississippi State (34.0). The Tide’s leading rebounder is star freshman point guard Dazon Ingram, who fractured his foot in practice in early December and is out for the rest of the season.

The Lineups

LSU (11-7, 4-2 SEC)

Probable Starters

  • G Josh Gray, 6-1, Sr., 7.5 ppg, 2.4 apg
  • G Jalyn Patterson, 6-1, So., 5.1 ppg, 1.8 apg
  • G Keith Hornsby, 6-4, Sr., 13.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg
  • F Craig Victor, 6-9, So., 13.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg
  • F Ben Simmons, 6-10, Fr., 19.4 ppg, 12.8 rpg

Top reserves

  • G Tim Quarterman, 6-6, Jr., 11.0 ppg, 3.4 apg
  • G Antonio Blakeney, 6-4, Fr., 9.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg
  • F Aaron Epps, 6-9, So., 5.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg

Alabama (10-7, 1-4 SEC)

Probable Starters

  • G Retin Obasohan, 6-2, Sr., 14.5 ppg, 2.0 apg
  • G Arthur Edwards, 6-6, Sr., 9.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg
  • F Riley Norris, 6-7, So., 7.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg
  • F Michael Kessens, 6-9, Jr., 4.5 ppg, 3.6 rpg
  • F Jimmie Taylor, 6-10, So., 5.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg

Top reserves

  • F Shannon Hale, 6-8, Jr., 10.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg
  • G Justin Coleman, 5-10, So., 8.4 ppg, 3.9 apg
  • F Donta Hall, 6-9, Fr., 2.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg

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Video: LSU guard Henry Shortess brought to tears, earns scholarship for spring semester

LSU junior guard Henry Shortess, a walk-on for the Tigers for the past 2 1/2 seasons, has been awarded a scholarship for the spring semester, coach Johnny Jones announced Thursday night.

Shortess, who was informed by Jones after practice on Thursday that he had earned a scholarship, is finishing up his undergraduate work in the Ourso School of Business at LSU.

“I am very pleased we could give a scholarship for this semester to Henry Shortess as he finishes his undergraduate school work,” Jones said in a university news release. “Henry is not only hard-working in the classroom as demonstrated by his multiple selections to the SEC Academic Honor Roll, but he was named a prestigious Rucks Fellow by the Ourso School of Business.

“He is also hard-working on and the basketball court, helping make his teammates better by his efforts in drills and scouting reports. More importantly, he is well-liked and respected by the other members of the team as was shown by their reaction when we announced that we were awarding this to Henry.”

Shortess, who prepped at University High, was a four-year letter winner in basketball and tennis, earning two first-team All-District honors in basketball and was a two-time All-Metro selection in tennis.

At LSU, he walked-on to the men’s team prior to the 2013-14 season.

“I can’t thank Coach Jones enough for everything he has done for me,” Shortess said. “The LSU basketball program has always been very close to my heart, and the love I have for my teammates and coaches has grown tremendously these past couple of seasons.”

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Opening Tip: LSU at No. 10 Texas A&M

Opening Tip is posted about five hours before each game.

General Info

  • What: LSU (11-6, 4-1 SEC) at Texas A&M (15-2, 5-0 SEC)
  • When: 8 p.m. Tuesday
  • Where: Reed Arena, College Station, Texas
  • All-time series: LSU leads 17-14
  • Last meeting: Texas A&M 68, LSU 62 (Feb. 17, 2015 in College Station)
  • TV: ESPN
  • Radio: WDGL-FM, 98.1; WWL-AM, 870; KLWB-FM, 103.7
  • In game Twitter updates: @MicklesAdvocate
  • Up next: LSU will travel to Alabama on Saturday at 1 p.m. (ESPNU)

Starting Five

  • MIXING AND MATCHING: LSU coach Johnny Jones used eight different starting lineups so far in his team’s first 17 games. The lineup that has opened the last two games against Ole Miss and Arkansas — Josh Gray, Jalyn Patterson, Keith Hornsby, Craig Victor and Ben Simmons — is 2-0.
  • GRAY AREA: Gray, a senior guard, has taken advantage of an opportunity to start in the last two games. He’s scored 22 points in hitting 8-of-10 field-goal attempts and going 5-of-6 from the free-throw line and has seven assists. In Saturday’s win over Arkansas, he had one turnover in 30 minutes.
  • TOUGH AT HOME: LSU’s opponent on Tuesday night, Texas A&M, has been tough to beat at home the past two seasons. The Aggies were 14-4 in Reed Arena last season and are 10-0 this year. Since opening league play a year ago with a double-OT loss to Kentucky, A&M is 8-2 against SEC foes t home.
  • ROAD IMPROVEMENT: LSU, which dropped a 68-62 decision to Texas A&M in Reed Arena last Feb. 17 when ir scored just one point in the final 2½ minutes, has won eight of its last 12 SEC road games since Jones started his career 4-13 away from home in conference play.
  • A&M TWO-STEP: Of the teams LSU played twice in the regular season a year ago, only Texas A&M swept the Tigers. LSU was 2-0 vs. Florida and Ole Miss and and 1-1 against Tennessee and Auburn. LSU and A&M will meet twice a year as a result of the new scheduling format adopted last spring.

Know Your Opponent

  • No. 10 Texas A&M, which is the only remaining unbeaten team in conference play at 5-0, is coming off a 79-45 blasting of Georgia in Athens on Saturday. The blowout came after the Aggies won their previous three games by a total of eight points over Mississippi State, Tennessee and Florida. The 34-point margin of victory was the largest in a league game for the Aggies since 1915. A&M coach Billy Kennedy’s team has lots of experience and length with four seniors in the starting lineup and four players who stand between 6 feet, 5 inches and 6-10. The group is led by 6-7 guard/forward Jalen Jones, the reigning SEC Player of the Week, and 6-7 guard Danuel House, a preseason first-team All-SEC pick by the media this season. Texas A&M ranks fourth in the league in scoring at 79.5 points per game and is second in second in scoring defense in allowing just 64.8 per contest. The Aggies are third in field-goal accuracy at 46.9 percent and are third in 3-point field-goal accuracy at 38.5 percent. Defensively, A&M is fifth in the league in holding opponents to a field-goal percentage of just 39.8.

The Lineups

LSU (11-6, 4-1 SEC)

Probable Starters

  • G Josh Gray, 6-1, Sr., 7.9 ppg, 2.4 apg
  • G Jalyn Patterson, 6-1, So., 5.3 ppg, 1.9 apg
  • G Keith Hornsby, 6-4, Sr., 14.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg
  • F Craig Victor, 6-9, So., 13.6 ppg, 7.1 rpg
  • F Ben Simmons, 6-10, Fr., 20.0 ppg, 12.9 rpg

Top reserves

  • G Tim Quarterman, 6-6, Jr., 10.9 ppg, 3.5 apg
  • G Antonio Blakeney, 6-4, Fr., 9.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg
  • F Aaron Epps, 6-9, So., 5.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg

Texas A&M (15-2, 5-0 SEC)

Probable Starters

  • G Anthony Collins, 6-1, Sr., 5.8 ppg, 4.8 apg
  • G Alex Caruso, 6-5, Sr., 7.9 ppg, 5.1 apg
  • G Danuel House, 6-7, Sr., 15.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg
  • G/F Jalen Jones, 6-7, Sr., 17.2 ppg, 7.0 rpg
  • C Tyler Davis, 6-10, Fr., 10.8 ppf, 5.8 rpg

Top reserves

  • G Admon Gilder, 6-3, Fr., 7.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg
  • C Tonny Trocha-Morelos, 6-10, So., 7.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg
  • F DJ Hogg, 6-8, Fr., 6.9 ppg, 3.0 rpg

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LSU forward Simmons named SEC Freshman of the Week

LSU forward Ben Simmons was named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week for the third time Monday following his performances in wins over Ole Miss and Arkansas.

The 6-foot-10 Simmons averaged 15.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and five assists in home wins against Ole Miss (90-81) and Arkansas (76-74). He was 12-of-26 from the field and 7-of-13 from the free-throw line in the two games.

Simmons notched his league-leading 13th double-double with 16 points and 18 rebounds against Arkansas on Saturday night. It was the fifth time this season that Simmons has had at least 15 points and 15 rebounds in a game.

It’s the fourth time that Simmons, who was tabbed by the media as the league’s preseason Player of the Year, has been honored by the conference. He was also named Player of the Week on Nov. 23.

Simmons is averaging 20.0 points per game, which is third in the league, and leads the conference with 12.9 rebounds a game.

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Opening Tip: Arkansas at LSU

Opening Tip is posted about five hours before each game.

General Info

  • What: Arkansas (9-7, 3-1 SEC) at LSU (10-6, 3-1 SEC)
  • When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
  • Where: Pete Maravich Assembly Center
  • All-time series: Arkansas leads 32-27
  • Last meeting: LSU 81, Arkansas 78 (March 7, 2015 in Fayetteville)
  • TV: SEC Network
  • Radio: WDGL-FM, 98.1; WWL-AM, 870; KLWB-FM, 103.7
  • In game Twitter updates: @MicklesAdvocate
  • Up next: LSU will travel to Texas A&M on Tuesday at 8 p.m. (ESPN)

Starting Five

  • SHOOTING STARS: Going into Saturday’s play, LSU was second in the SEC in field-goal accuracy, knocking down 47.5 percent of its 999 field goals attempted in its first 16 games. LSU was just a shade behind Kentucky (47.6) and just ahead of Arkansas at 47.3 percent.
  • SIMPLY SIZZLING: LSU shot 70.8 percent from the field in the second half of Wednesday’s 90-81 victory over Ole Miss, marking the second time this season it has been over 70 percent after halftime. The Tigers shot 77.1 percent in the second half in a 119-108 win over North Florida on Dec. 2.
  • POINTS PILE UP: Arkansas and LSU are the only teams in the SEC averaging more than 80 points a game at 84.4 and 83.2, respectively. The Tigers were actually first at 84.3 points per game for a short time a week ago before being held to 62 in a setback at Florida last Saturday.
  • LEADING THE PACK: LSU forward Ben Simmons had his streak of four double-doubles in a row snapped against Ole Miss when he had 15 points, five rebounds and seven assists. Simmons still leads all SEC players with 12 double-doubles — four more than Arkansas’ Moses Kingsley.
  • BY THE NUMBERS: 65-6 — LSU’s record under Johnny Jones when the Tigers shoot better than their opponents. LSU is 10-1 this season when it out-shoots the opponent with the only loss a 105-98 overtime setback at Houston. LSU shot 50.0 percent, while Houston was at 51.4 percent.

Know Your Opponent

  • Arkansas, which lost four of five starters from last year’s team that finished second in the league, is off to a 3-1 start in conference play after being tabbed for an 11th-place finish in the preseason. After dropping its SEC opener by 23 points at Texas A&M, which is now 4-0 in league play, the Razorbacks have defeated Vanderbilt and two early-season bottom-feeders — Mississippi State and Missouri. Still, with its up-tempo offense and pressure defense, Arkansas remains dangerous on any given night. Junior Moses Kingsley, a 6-foot-10 forward, has blossomed into one of the league’s top big men with 17.3 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. He also leads the conference with 2.7 blocked shots a game. Kingsley gets plenty of help from guards Anthlon Bell and Dusty Hannahs, who average 17.0 and 16.5 points per game. Bell and Hannahs are shooting close to 50 percent from the field overall and both are better than 46.5 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. As a team, Arkansas hits 47.3 percent of its field goals overall and is the top 3-point shooting team in the SEC at 45.0 percent — nearly five percentage points better than Vanderbilt (40.2).

The Lineups

Arkansas (9-7, 3-1 SEC)

Probable Starters

  • G Jabril Durham, 6-1, Sr., 6.6 ppg, 7.4 apg
  • G Dusty Hannahs, 6-3, Jr., 16.5 ppg, 2.1 rpg
  • G Anthlon Bell, 6-3, Sr., 17.0 ppg, 2.9 rpg
  • F Keaton Miles, 6-7, Sr., 3.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg
  • F Moses Kingsley, 6-10, Jr., 17.3 ppg, 9.5 rpg

Top reserves

  • G Anton Beard, 6-0, So., 8.1 ppg, 1.7 rpg
  • F Trey Thompson, 6-9, So., 3.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg
  • G Jimmy Whitt, 6-4, Fr., 7.6 ppg, 1.9 rpg

LSU (10-6, 3-1 SEC)

Probable Starters

  • G Tim Quarterman, 6-6, Jr., 11.6 ppg, 3.6 apg
  • G Keith Hornsby, 6-4, Sr., 14.9 ppg, 2.4 rpg
  • G Antonio Blakeney, 6-4, Fr., 9.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg
  • F Craig Victor, 6-9, So., 13.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg
  • F Ben Simmons, 6-10, Fr., 20.3 ppg, 12.6 rpg

Top reserves

  • G Josh Gray, 6-1, Sr., 7.5 ppg, 2.3 apg
  • G Jalyn Patterson, 6-1, So., 4.9 ppg, 1.2 rpg
  • F Aaron Epps, 6-9, So., 5.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg

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LSU to start guards Gray, Patterson against Ole Miss

The LSU basketball team will have two new starters in its lineup for Wednesday night’s Southeastern Conference game with Ole Miss.

Coach Johnny Jones, who has gone with the same lineup for the past six games, will have guards Josh Gray and Jalyn Patterson in for Antonio Blakeney and Tim Quarterman.

The moves were likely designed to have their smaller and quicker guards like Gray and Patterson, both 6 feet, 1 inch, in the game to combat the quickness of 5-11 Ole Miss point guard Stefan Moody, who leads the SEC in scoring at 23.9 points per game.

LSU’s other starters will be guard Keith Hornsby and forwards Craig Victor and Ben Simmons.

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Ole Miss team to depart from Lafayette after game with LSU

The Ole Miss basketball team will have to bus to Lafayette for its chartered flight to Oxford, Mississippi, following Wednesday night’s game with LSU.

Because of President Obama’s overnight visit to the Capital City, the Ole Miss traveling party will depart from Lafayette Regional Airport.

The change is necessary because there is a different security protocol for chartered flights.

Commercial flights aren’t affected by the presence of Air Force One on the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport tarmac.

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Opening Tip: Ole Miss at LSU

Opening Tip is posted about five hours before each game.

General Info

  • What: Ole Miss (12-3, 2-1 SEC) at LSU (9-6, 2-1 SEC)
  • When: 8 p.m. Wednesday
  • Where: Pete Maravich Assembly Center
  • All-time series: LSU leads 119-87
  • Last meeting: LSU 73, Ole Miss 63 (Feb. 28, 2015 in Baton Rouge)
  • TV: ESPN2
  • Radio: WDGL-FM, 98.1; WWL-AM, 870; KLWB-FM, 103.7
  • In game Twitter updates: @MicklesAdvocate
  • Up next: LSU will host Arkansas on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. (SEC Network)

Starting Five

  • REBOUNDS UP: LSU, which was averaging just 38.9 rebounds a game after a Dec. 29 loss to Wake Forest, has come on strong since SEC play started. The Tigers rank third in the league with 40.2 rebounds per game for the season, but are first in conference games only at 45.3 per game.
  • DOUBLING UP: LSU guard Keith Hornsby has scored in double digits in seven of eight games he’s played in this season. Hornsby, who missed the first seven games while recovering from sports hernia surgery, has only missed a double-digit scoring game against Kentucky when he had nine points.
  • DOUBLING UP II: Freshman forward Ben Simmons, who ranks third in the SEC in scoring at 20.6 points per game, continues to lead the league in double-doubles with 12 in 15 games. In two of the three games he didn’t get a double-double, he was just one rebound short.
  • SCORING MACHINE: Stefan Moody, Ole Miss’ dynamic point guard, has scored 20 points or more points in his last 10 games — the longest streak for the Rebels since Gerald Glass had 20 points or more in 13 consecutive games in 1990. Moody leads the league with 23.9 points per game.
  • OLD RIVALS: LSU and Ole Miss will meet on the basketball court for the 207th time tonight in a series that began in 1910. LSU won back-to-back games played on Feb. 4 and 5 in Baton Rouge — claiming a 39-14 victory in the first game and a 25-4 decision the next day.

Know Your Opponent

  • Since dropping its SEC opener to Kentucky on the road on Jan. 2, Ole Miss has come back strong in winning its last two games over Alabama and Georgia in the sparkling new Pavilion at Ole Miss — the school’s $96.5 million multi-purpose arena. Coach Andy Kennedy, who is in his 10th season at the school, has two of the top players in the conference in senior guard Stefan Moody and junior forward Sebastian Saiz. Moody, who switched from the two-guard spot to the point this season, is having a solid season and leads the SEC in scoring with 23.9 points per game. He’s scored at least 20 points in 10 consecutive games and is also averaging 4.1 assists per game. Moody is also the SEC’s second-best free-throw shooter, knocking down 115 of 133 attempts for 86.5 percent. Saiz has had back-to-back double-doubles and is one of only two players in the league to average a double-double for the season at 12.5 points and 10.3 rebounds a game (Ben Simmons is the other at 20.6 ppg, 13.1 rpg). Ole Miss ranks 10th in the SEC in scoring with 75.4 points per game and is ninth in scoring defense in giving up 70.1 points a contest.

The Lineups

Ole Miss (12-3, 2-1 SEC)

Probable Starters

  • G Stefan Moody, 5-11, Sr., 23.9 ppg, 4.1 apg
  • G Martavious Newby, 6-3, Sr., 5.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg
  • G Rasheed Brooks, 6-5, Jr., 7.9 ppg, 2.5 rpg
  • F Sebastian Saiz, 6-9, Jr., 12.5 ppg, 10.3 rpg
  • F Tomasz Gielo, 6-9, Sr., 8.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg

Top reserves

  • F Anthony Perez, 6-9, Sr., 5.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg
  • F Marcanvis Hymon, 6-7, Fr., 5.4 ppg, 4.9 rpg
  • G Sam Finley, 6-2, Jr., 5.4 ppg, 1.8 rpg

LSU (9-5, 2-1 SEC)

Probable Starters

  • G Tim Quarterman, 6-6, Jr., 11.5 ppg, 3.7 apg
  • G Keith Hornsby, 6-4, Sr., 15.5 ppg, 2.3 rpg
  • G Antonio Blakeney, 6-4, Fr., 9.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg
  • F Craig Victor, 6-9, So., 12.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg
  • F Ben Simmons, 6-10, Fr., 20.6 ppg, 13.1 rpg

Top reserves

  • G Josh Gray, 6-1, Sr., 7.5 ppg, 2.2 apg
  • G Jalyn Patterson, 6-1, So., 4.9 ppg, 1.8 apg
  • F Aaron Epps, 6-9, So., 5.7 ppg, 2.9 rpg

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LSU forward Simmons tabbed midseason Freshman of the Year

LSU forward Ben Simmons has been selected as the midseason Freshman of the Year by SportingNews.com.

Entering Wednesday night’s game with Ole Miss, the 6-foot-10 Simmons is averaging 20.6 points, 13.1 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.9 steals and 1.3 blocked shots per game.

Simmons has 12 double-doubles in 15 games this season. He had nine rebounds in two of the three games he did not achieve a double-double.

In choosing Simmons, the editors of SportingNews.com said: “Simmons has been spectacular enough to make one wonder if there are any other freshmen in college basketball. There are some fine ones — Brandon Ingram at Duke, Henry Ellenson at Marquette — but only one who has been dominant.

“Simmons leads his team in scoring, rebounding and assists. He get twice as many rebounds as anyone else among the Tigers. He not only is a prolific passer, but the most spectacular in the college game and perhaps the best as his size to ever play the game.”

Simmons also named a midseason first-team All-American by the Bleacher Report’s Jason Franchuk.

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