LSU head coach Will Wade is not expecting the warmest of welcomes in Richmond, Va., on Wednesday night when his No. 23 Tigers visit the Virginia Commonwealth Rams.
The reason? Wade's current team is visiting his former team.
This game was scheduled as part of an agreement that allowed the third-year Tigers coach to escape his contract as the Rams head coach and take his current job. LSU will host VCU next season to complete the agreement.
"I do think most of the fans were not real pleased with me," Wade told the Advocate of his departure from the Rams in 2017. "They're not real happy about the move, and I'm sure they'll let their feelings be known when we show up there."
Wade was a VCU assistant for four seasons, which included 2011 when the Rams reached the Final Four under Shaka Smart. Wade left to become head coach at Chattanooga, where he stayed for two seasons before returning to Richmond to succeed Smart after Smart became head coach at Texas.
The Tigers went to the Sweet 16 last season under Wade and started this season with an 88-79 home victory against Bowling Green last Friday.
LSU used a 19-0 first-half run to take control, turning a 20-15 deficit into a 14-point lead.
It was a solid win, but Wade wasn't happy with the Tigers' 16 turnovers, which led to 16 points for the Falcons.
"We have a major turnover problem," he said. "If we go into Wednesday and turn the ball over like we have been turning the ball over, we are going to get our doors blown off."
LSU turned its game around with what Wade called its "spurtability."
VCU, which began the season with a 72-58 victory over Saint Francis (Pa.), showed pretty good "spurtability" of its own in a 59-56 victory over North Texas on Friday night.
The Rams used a 20-0 run midway through the first half to take a 31-19 lead.
"We just locked in, I think," senior guard Marcus Evans said. "I think at times we get a little lackadaisical on defense. That's what we hang our hat on, and tonight we had some defensive mistakes -- that's uncharacteristic of us."
Those game-turning runs in their most recent games are something the Tigers and the Rams have in common.
"It was a huge momentum builder," VCU coach Mike Rhoades, Wade's successor, said of his team's run.
Though the Rams nearly squandered the lead in the second half, senior forward Mike'L Simms made a couple of 3-pointers in the final 2:07 to keep North Texas at bay.
Wade didn't recruit Simms, but he did recruit four players who are still part of a Rams team that was the preseason pick to win the Atlantic 10 -- De'Riante Jenkins, Malik Crowfield, Isaac Vann and Marcus Santos-Silva.
"At the end of the day, it's about our team going on the road to play a ranked team in a very tough environment to see how we handle ourselves early in the season," Wade said. "It's about LSU playing VCU ... that's what it is."
--Field Level Media