LSU men’s basketball team won’t play in Nebraska multi-team event; Tigers now headed to St. Louis

The LSU basketball team won’t be opening its season in Nebraska after all.

Four days after saying the Golden Window Classic schedule might be in flux, coach Will Wade confirmed to The Advocate on Friday the Tigers won’t be heading to Lincoln for the multi-team event.

Instead of facing San Francisco in its season opener on Wednesday in Lincoln, LSU will go against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville on Thursday in Saint Louis University’s Chaifetz Arena.

In addition to LSU and SIUE, the Billiken Classic includes host Saint Louis and an NAIA school, the University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis.

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After facing SIUE on Thanksgiving Day, LSU will play Saint Louis on Saturday to conclude the four-day MTE, according to a news release on the Saint Louis website.

The games will be played without fans in Chaifetz Arena. Game times and media coverage will be announced in the coming days.

The Nebraska MTE started to unravel before tournament organizer Elevate Sports announced the final schedule and tip times for its tournament on Monday night.

Oklahoma State had been penciled in for the eight-team event, but pulled out last month; Illinois State and Northern Iowa were the latest to bow out last week.

Division II Chadron State was a late addition Monday, giving the tournament seven teams before Saint Louis left and LSU decided to follow to play on the SLU campus.

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In a Zoom conference call with reporters Thursday, Wade said Saint Louis, one of the top teams in the Atlantic 10, is a Quad 1 opponent and ultimately wasn’t interested in dropping it from the schedule.

At the same time, Wade hinted this year’s schedule will likely be fluid because of the coronavirus pandemic.

That’s why he was talking to several state schools for possible fill-in games if COVID-19 plays havoc with his nonconference schedule that has already been re-arranged once.

“What’s going to happen to us is inevitably, games are going to get postponed, going to get canceled so we’re going to have to fill in,” Wade said, noting he had spent the better part of the morning working on contingencies.

“I was talking to McNeese, Northwestern State, UL-Monroe, all those guys, to get a sense of what dates they’ve got open. If we have to start plugging and playing, then we can do that.”

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