This isn’t rock bottom. It may feel that way, but LSU still has five games left to play. That’s five more chances to dig this hole even deeper. Mizzou won its second game this weekend, so the cellar is finally in LSU’s sole possession, but 1-17 is still attainable.
Let that roll around in your mouth a little. 1-17 in SEC play. Even the post-probation teams managed to win a handful of games. LSU went 9-18 (2-14) in 1997-98, the worst season under Brady, and this team is on pace to be even worse.
Luckily, this won’t be the worst team in LSU history, as the 1966-67 somehow managed to win just three games total en route to a 3-23 (1-17) season, still the gold standard of futility. Of course, that team had the excuse that its best player was ineligible to play in varsity sports under the old freshmen eligibility rules. The next season, Pistol Pete would lift the program out of the muck.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the next Pistol Pete is not going to play for the team next year. This team is awful, and it shows no signs of getting better. It is utterly hopeless.
Believe it or not, there was some reason for optimism heading in to last night’s game. Sure, LSU had lost eleven straight, but the last two losses were by 8 and 7 points, respectively. Even more encouraging, the losses were to Arkansas and Kentucky, two pretty good teams. That counts as progress!
LSU had spent the previous nine games of the streak losing by double digits in eight of those contests, so not getting absolutely blown off the court is what qualified as a good sign for the basketball team. That, in and of itself, pretty much sums up LSU hoops right now. Sure, it barely qualified as an optimistic sign, but when you’ve been getting housed all season, you’ll take what you can get.
And for a half, LSU rewarded that optimism. LSU actually went into the half with a lead, 47-44. LSU’s play was keyed, as usual, by Antonio Blakeney, a guy who clearly deserves better than being stuck on the worst LSU hoops team in half a century. Blakeney poured in 22 points in the first half, almost willingly LSU to a good game.
LSU even came out of the half buoyed by their lead. LSU extended the three point lead to eleven, and with 16:25 left in the game, LSU held an improbable 55-44 lead.
And then it all went bad.
Ole Miss closed the game on a 52-21 run. Blakeney ended the game with just 29 points after his stellar start. LSU went from shooting 54.5% from the field in the first half to 28.0% in the second. LSU would only hit seven shots in the second half. Seven.
I would say it was a disappointment, but I doubt there was a single LSU fan watching who was the least bit surprised. And let’s be further honest, most LSU fans weren’t even watching. The fanbase has given up on this team a long time ago.
This would be the part where I call to fire Johnny Jones, who has steered this program directly into the iceberg. But you know what? When the titanic is sinking to its watery grave, what good is firing the captain? The disaster has already occurred.
LSU fans have, by and large, moved on to gymnastics and softball. The ones who haven’t will move on to baseball, which starts this weekend. LSU fans aren’t angry, they are apathetic. No one cares about this most recent disaster because it was so utterly normal for this team.
That is the most damning thing I can say about a team. LSU blew a double-digit lead in the second half last night, and ended up losing by 20 points. And no one cared.
LSU basketball isn’t at rock bottom. It is the rock: totally lifeless and inert.