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SEC Tournament Preview/GameThread: LSU vs. Auburn (2:30, SEC Network)

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It's a lose-meh scenario for LSU. Can they keep their NCAA hopes on solid footing?

John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

It's time for LSU to confront a nemesis. Not Auburn. Not March. Not even a looming game with Kentucky.

No, the SEC Tournament. The Tigers have notoriously struggled in the SEC's postseason, not making a finals appearance in over 20 years and lacking a title in the event since 1981. For reference here, LSU has as many SEC Tournament championships as Georgia Tech, who haven't been in the league since 1954. Hell, the Tigers' last three SEC title teams (2000, 2006, 2009) couldn't even make the finals of the event. So yeah, it's fair to say this is a significant hurdle not just this year but every year LSU is a good team entering this tournament, at least until they prove otherwise.

The Tigers caught a bit of bad luck here. While Texas A&M may have offered a tougher challenge to LSU, it was a much lower-risk game. A win would have maybe meant a 1-seed bump, the reverse for a loss. Instead, Auburn is high-risk, minimal-reward. A loss to a team like Auburn was the only way LSU would even sniff the bubble again, so winning this game is more about damage control than tangible rewards. Plus, you have a team that's already defeated LSU this year and you hate to play these underdogs who have a couple games of confidence under their belt.

On the flip side, Auburn only has slightly more depth than LSU and will be playing its third game in approximately 40 hours. Their legs might be dead, which would negate Auburn's 3-point streakiness, which is how they came into the PMAC and dropped 80 six weeks ago.

But the game in Auburn looked more like this one should go. LSU romped by 20+ and thoroughly outclassed a team with no postseason hopes. With the purple-and-gold Tigers rested, still playing for NCAA gains, getting Jordan Mickey back and coming off a galvanizing road win at Arkansas, there's no reason for this one to be in doubt down the stretch.

Still, we'll see which LSU team shows up. This team remains streaky enough to not be trusted 30+ games into a strangely compelling season.