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POSTGAME: LSU 77, Michigan 75

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LSU...finished on the right side of one of these games for once

NCAA Basketball: Maui Invitational-Michigan at LSU Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Wow, wow, wow! Honestly what is there to complain about at all here tonight? I figured we’d hang in for the most part, but did NOT see that coming. How are we finally on the right side of one of these close games?

The largest...and only topic of last game’s presser stayed on how embarrassing LSU’s defensive play was in the second half. Wade’s Tigers answered the tough practices with hard results: good, strong, fast defense. The defensive effort was most apparent in guard Skylar Mays, who honestly blew me away every time he played defense tonight. He is just so good at attaching himself to guys with the ball and blocking passing lanes with his body. He’s by far the defensive player of the game, and would be the overall player of the game if Tremont Waters didn’t play so well on offense again.

Yes, again. Tremont Waters is healthy and is showing it very, very well. As impressive as his stat line of 21 points and 4 assists is, his impact on offensive efficiency every time the ball is in his hands cannot be overstated. One really huge play that brought LSU within one possession involved a scramble for the ball, and Tremont Waters throwing it in the right direction, right to an awaiting Skylar Mays for a backwards, Shaq-attack dunk.

If I’m finding anything to complain about tonight, the Tigers really need to lock down on free throws and turnovers. You can blame the turnovers on playing a really good defensive team, and the turnovers actually did stop later in the second half. But only shooting 16-23 on free throws after last week’s 19-20 performance is just disappointing. We should’ve had some more breathing room, but hey, we won. And honestly that’s the most important thing it boils down to: winning and having fun watching.

I didn’t want to get ahead of myself getting pumped up for what seemed to be a pretty good team after the first couple games. After a big win over a talented, potential Tournament team in Michigan, I’m starting to wonder how this team will shake up come March. This could be huge, and it’s so refreshing to watch after our last few years. I’ve seen too may of these close games fall flat because of a poor play call after a timeout, or no timeout at all. Coach Wade made all of his timeouts count, and it showed in the end, when LSU needed composure the most. This was just a hard played, well coached, well deserved win.

The Tigers tip off tomorrow night at 5pm, 9pm central against the #13 Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Just playing Notre Dame will help LSU’s postseason chances, but an upset here could cause an early launch for LSU’s Tournament campaign. That contest will be broadcast on television by ESPN and on radio by 98.1 FM.