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Can LSU reverse its road woes before it's too late?


It won't get any easier than this.

For a team that's struggled on the road this year, this is the best chance it has at scoring a road win the rest of the way. Put it this way: If LSU can't beat Texas A&M away from home, it's almost impossible to see the Tigers taking down Arkansas or Vandy on the road, much less Florida or Kentucky. This should be a lay-up for a NCAA Tournament hopeful.

That's been the catch, not just for LSU, but every SEC bubble team. No SEC road wins have come easily. Remember that Alabama loss for LSU three weeks ago? Ole Miss replicated the feat on Tuesday night, Tennessee couldn't win at Vanderbilt last week and Mizzou lost at Ole Miss and Florida. It's been a pretty vicious cycle, one that LSU simply must break.

The Tigers could survive the UGA loss, they could survive the Bama loss and the Ole Miss loss wasn't truly damaging. But UGA and Bama have RPIs of 113 and 109, while the Rebels are squarely on the bubble at 56. Texas A&M's number? 144. This is more must-win that just about any game remaining on LSU's schedule as far as at-large aspirations go.

LSU won both meetings last season, and the two teams aren't much different in quality this year. The Aggies are tall but lanky, and slash to the basket a lot. Given LSU's perimeter defense the past two games, there's a red flag there. But the Tigers haven't played two games that poor defensively all year, and I expect a better effort tonight. A&M is the worst shooting SEC team in almost every respect, so expect Johnny Jones to dial up a zone, maybe even a 3-2 look to seal off any dribble penetration. That should prevent major foul trouble and force the Aggies to shoot well from deep to have a shot.

It will probably be closer than it should be, given LSU's sizable talent advantage. There's just something about the road for this team. Expect them to look rough for a half or so and turn it on in the second half to hold off a pesky Aggies team and move on to bigger things.