Tigers make final preparations for Yale

Jacksonville, Fl. -- The LSU Tigers joined the other 7 teams in the Jacksonville region in a practice day Wednesday ahead of Thursday's games in the round of 64. LSU, still without head coach Will Wade, took the practice court at 12:30 p.m. and spoke to the media beforehand. One of the hot topics was of course, how they are handling the noise and distraction of their head coach being suspended and not with the team?

"I think there's been a lot of outside stuff throughout the year and we've done a great job of keeping that stuff outside once we step on the court," said LSU guard Skylar Mays. "I think our record shows that. We should be able to continue to do that. Me and Tremont [Waters] as leaders, we trust all these guys and we've developed a great bond over the year and we expect that bond to keep us together on the court."

Waters has been the main player everyone has looked to since Wade's suspension. Interim Head Coach Tony Benford even said that he's looking to the sophomore point guard for him to be another coach out on the floor for the team.

The Tigers had an early exit in the SEC Tournament Friday, losing to Florida in their first game, but will have had 5 full days to regroup and prepare for this next match-up. Benford spoke about his team's mentality moving forward from that Florida loss:

"Our guys have been great," Benford said. "They've been working extremely hard. We've had some great practices the last few days, really focused, especially after the SEC Tournament. After the loss to Florida, we gave the guys a couple of days off. Came back, had two really, really I think spirited practices. The guys are focused, looking forward to the opportunity to play here in the NCAA Tournament against a very quality Yale team, and we'll be prepared to play tomorrow."

No. 3 LSU (26-6) and No. 14 Yale (21-7) are the first of the four games in Jacksonville, tipping-off Thursday at 11:40 a.m. CT.

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