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The Tigers are seemingly in a rut in this SEC Tournament, not on the NCAA bubble. But they must beat Bama to prevent their NIT bubble from popping.

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

LSU is on the bubble.

The NIT bubble.

The Tigers road to any postseason play begins with Alabama tonight in the first round of the SEC Tournament. The Tide bested LSU by a basket two months ago in Tuscaloosa, but a neutral site should favor the Tigers.

That is, if LSU actually comes to play. In that Bama win, the Tide opened up a 15-point lead in the first half and had it up to 19 in the 2nd half before the Tigers mounted a furious comeback. It should never get that far in the Georgia Dome.

But getting to the NIT thing. Barring a Mizzou miracle against No. 1 Florida tomorrow, LSU will be fighting with those Tigers, maybe the loser of UT-Arkansas and Georgia (which owns a season sweep against LSU) for three SEC slots in the NIT. A loss would torpedo LSU's RPI and likely box the boys from Baton Rouge from the postseason for the fourth time in five years.

Look, no one's asking for an SEC Tournament title. That's eluded even the best LSU teams. It's doubtful this is the squad to make that happen. But one, even two wins would go a long way toward getting extra basketball. And despite this season's disappointments, that's a small silver lining to build on.