How can we be so bad? Let's look at the facts.
1. We lost seven players from last year's team. We lost five seniors-
Chris Johnson: an athletic center who could get inside and finish dunks.
Terry Martin: a great shooter off the bench
Garrett Temple: a shut-down defender that could cancel out any team's big scorer.
Marcus Thornton: The man who could shoot it from anywhere.
Quintin Thornton: Garrett Green Beta
Plus, we lost Delwan Graham, a small forward who did very little last season, but could have added depth this season.
And then Alex Farrer got hurt. This was supposed to be his breakout season, but there's a chance he might choose to get on with his life rather than spend a sixth year at LSU next year.
2. Johnson chose not to add many players to compensate, so we're thin.
So who came in?
Garrett Green came back from a back injury that held him out last year, but he's been frustratingly turnover- and foul-prone, unproductive and inconsistent.
Dennis Harris arrived fresh off a redshirt year and has shown signs of promise, but he's skinny, inconsistent and not ready to be a superstar.
We also added a pair of freshmen: two guys who could have stood to redshirt, but couldn't get the chance because we're so shallow.
Aaron Dotson, a physical guard that can defend and rebound, but a remarkably poor shooter.
Eddie Ludwig, a big man blessed with tremendous touch (17-19 from the free throw line) who hasn't been able to translate that touch to the rest of the court.
We also added transfer Malcolm White, who sadly has to sit out this year.
So with six departed players, Trent Johnson chose to bring in a class of just two freshmen.
3. Brady's fault?
I really don't get this argument. To give John Brady blame for this year's team would probably mean giving him credit for last year's team, which I refuse to do.
4. No talent?
The idea that we're just not talented doesn't just condone the present, it also speaks to the idea that we won't be very good in the future as well. There's a worry that Aaron Dotson might never find his shot. Garrett Green might never get it together. Bo Spencer might never round into that productive leader.
If Chris Bass, Aaron Dotson and Eddie Ludwig are not just projects and are in fact as good as they're ever gonna be, that would speak poorly of Johnson's recruiting, and it would raise questions as to whether we can expect more from the next recruiting class.
But there's also the hope that these players can evolve and mature. Storm Warren was hideously immature as a player his freshman year. He was always missing dunks and playing out of sync with the rest of the squad. If he was the player he is now last year, who knows what the Tigers could have accomplished with another big man.
Plus, we have Tasmin Mitchell, who nobody can argue is untalented. All we can do is mourn that there aren't three more of him. Mitchell-Mitchell-Mitchell-Warren-Mitchell would be a killer starting 5.
Anytime you have a players like Mitchell and Warren, it's hard to argue that the talent is not there.
5. No chemistry.
The Tigers rarely get into a groove. There's no rhythm on offense. The offense goes like this:
A. Pass around the perimeter for 35 seconds and then watch Bo attempt a desperation shot.
B. Try to make a tricky pass to Storm in the paint, and watch them steal it.
C. Give the ball to Tasmin and hope he makes a play while getting double-teamed.
In the process, we're committing so many fouls. We sometimes get into a groove with Harris, but then Harris draws two early fouls and sits on the bench. The chemistry then evaporates, never to return, even when the player is back on the court. While for last year's Tigers, chemistry was always flowing (except when Q was on the court), this year's Tigers have trouble finding it.
6. A better SEC.
Kentucky's back. Tennessee, Kentucky and Vanderbilt are all playing at high levels. South Carolina just beat Kentucky. Ole Miss and Mississippi State are both very fine teams. We lost twice to Alabama, Auburn beat us, Florida's got a solid squad and even Georgia's got signs of improvement. Arkansas at least has an SEC win, which we don't. So should we blame an up year in the SEC for such a dramatic down year for LSU?
In conclusion, the answer to why the Tigers are so bad is probably a multitude of things: a badly-timed team made worse by a number of different factors. I'm hoping you'll leave a few thoughts on why we're so bad, and what we can expect in the future.