We’ve reached the middle of December, which means the college football regular season has come and gone, the playoffs are set and we know all the bowl games. The season is, sadly, drawing to a close and while we’ll have ample #content about LSU’s looming playoff match up with the Oklahoma Sooners, expect plenty of basketball content from Kennedi and I.
Which brings us to year two of my Tiger Tournament Tracker, a weekly check in on where the Joe Lunardi’s of the world project if the LSU men and women’s basketball teams are tournament bound and what seed they would be.
If you haven’t been paying attention to the hoops season, here’s a synopsis on where Will Wade and Nikki Fargas’ teams stand so far. The men are 7-2 but the two losses were heart breakers against quality opponents. LSU lost 84-82 at VCU November 13 and then lost to Utah State 80-78 November 22 in Jamaica. The Rams and Aggies were ranked when they played LSU but were not in the most recent AP Top 25; the Aggies did receive the most votes among teams not ranked so let’s call Utah State No. 26 in the country.
While there’s certainly no shame in losing to a pair of quality opponents by a combined four points, especially with neither game played in the PMAC, it’s fair to wonder just how good the Tigers are this season. There’s only three games left before SEC play and the quality of opponent will ratchet up for LSU. The Tigers get home games with East Tennessee State University next Wednesday and Liberty on December 29. Both the Buccaneers and the Flame are projected tournament teams as of today and Liberty knocked Mississippi State out of last year’s NCAA Tournament. And if that wasn’t enough, sandwiched between ETSU and Liberty is a game against USC in the Staples Center on December 21. Lunardi doesn’t have the Trojans in his field yet, but USC is still a 7-2 team from a Power 5 Conference and LSU will be playing them in their backyard.
As for the women’s program, Nikki Fargas’ squad worked its way to the AP Top 25 thanks in part to a seven-game win streak, highlighted by beating the then 15th ranked Michigan State Spartans 58-56. But the Lady Tigers laid an egg in the Big 12/SEC challenge and got waxed by a middling Oklahoma team 90-68 over the weekend.
LSU was uncharacteristically bad on the defensive side against the Sooners but have been pretty stout this year. Which is nothing new for the Tigers under Nikki Fargas, she always has her girls play teams tough. Florida State and Oklahoma have been the only two teams to crack 60 against LSU. Up until the Oklahoma game, the women were allowing 53 points a game which would have put LSU in the 14 to 21 range for points allowed per game.
Now that we’re somewhat caught up, let’s get on to the projections. Selection Sunday is about 100 days away and conference play hasn’t really started yet across the country so projection season isn’t quite upon us yet.
ESPN: Play in game vs. NC State in Dayton (South Region)
CBS: 7 Seed vs. No. 10 Oklahoma State in St. Louis (West Region)
Bracketville.com: 8 Seed vs. No 9 Penn State in Houston (South Region)
Teamrankings.com: 6 Seed vs. No. 11 Indiana
ESPN: 7 Seed vs. No. 10 Arizona State in Waco (Dallas Region)
NCAA.com: 9 Seed vs. No. 8 South Dakota State in College Station (Fort Wayne, Indiana Region)
CollegeSportsMadness.com: 8 Seed vs. No. 9 BYU