BATON ROUGE — LSU finally reached the Top 25 Monday, but it will not have one of its top players when it tries to defend that national ranking on Wednesday at Arkansas.
The Tigers (21-4), who lead the overall Southeastern Conference standings by two games with a 9-1 mark, are nationally ranked for the first time since early February of 2007. LSU is No. 23 in the Associated Press poll and No. 24 in the ESPN/USA Today poll after winning three games last week.
“It’s an honor to be ranked,” center Chris Johnson said after practice Monday. “It just shows how hard this team has worked. But now that we’re ranked we have a target on our back. We’re the hunted.”
The Tigers, who have won nine straight SEC games, play at Arkansas (13-10, 1-9 SEC) at 7 p.m. Wednesday and will not have starting point guard Bo Spencer for the second straight game because of a sprained ankle.
Spencer, who is averaging 11.6 points and 2.6 assists a game, tried to practice Monday but could not.
“It was too painful for him,” Johnson said.
“Bo Spencer will not play. He will not travel,” LSU coach Trent Johnson said. “For him not to be able to play and not practice, it’s bad. Bo has a high pain threshold, and he is a tough kid. So it’s not good.”
Johnson moved wing guard Garrett Temple to point guard on Saturday, and the Tigers were able to come from behind to defeat Ole Miss, 73-66, as Temple scored six points with nine assists. Freshman Chris Bass also played the point and had two assists in eight minutes of play. Guards Terry Martin and Alex Farrer also played more than usual. Martin, an off guard, scored 11 points in his first start of the season.