I said here (during our blogathon) that I was officially on the LSU bandwagon, and while they lost that night, they have not lost since (25-4, 13-1 SEC). I know the SEC is weaker than it has been in the past, but it's still a very respectable conference, especially top-to-bottom. Teams like Arknasas, Mississippi State, and Auburn are very competetive and they're in the West, which is typically thought of as the weaker basketball side.
Like I said during the blogathon, I grew up watching this team and have dealt with all the heartbreaks, many coming in Rupp Arena. So I have to imagine that I (and many other fans) may have been happier than some of the players to see this team win there for the first time in 20 years. What a game!
Like in that last defeat against Xavier, the Tigers were still giving up a lot of inside points, mostly to Patterson. But this time it was calculated, a method of keeping the ball out of the hands of Meeks as much as possible. Meeks still scored 24, but the end result was a success. Looking ahead to the NCAA Tournament, I see one positive and one negative with yesterday's gameplan.
Negative: It's very scary to see big guys dominating inside. If LSU is not shooting well, it could lead to a blow-out at some point against a good team.
Positive: Somehow this team managed to lose a huge lead, go down by TEN points against Kentucky on the road, and still come back and win. John Brady's team never would've done this. I don't know if a Dale Brown team could've done this. They stayed confident, played their game, came through in the clutch, and won.
- Trent Johnson is really amazing me this year. I did not have high hopes for this team and he came in and led them to a dominating SEC title. I know this is a veteran team and we could see a drop-off next year. But believe me, Louisiana is a sate FULL of basketball talent. Once he starts recruiting and you have a team full of his players, this could be really fun.
- I think this team has done enough to get at least a 4-seed. That says basically they should get to the Sweet 16 and be the underdog against a 1-seed. I'll take that! That would be more successful than anyone could've imagined and would be an exciting game to watch, win or lose.
- I look at boxscores and wonder how Garrett Temple is not a disappointment who is hurting his team. Then I watch him and I remember. He really does contribute and is a solid college player. The boxscore does not even come close to telling the whole story in this case.
Photo from the Baton Rouge Advocate.