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Tiger Tournament Tracker February 18-23

After a week of picking up two road wins, the Tigers are squarely in the top-four seed hunt

NCAA Basketball: Louisiana State at Georgia Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Nobody had a better week than LSU.

After putting the entire country on notice with a buzzer-beating win over Kentucky last Tuesday and avoiding a letdown in Athens Saturday, LSU continues its climb up the polls and, more importantly, their projected seeding for the NCAA Tournament.

The national media can’t quite come to an agreement on where to put the Tigers. Some AP votes put LSU as high as No. 4 in the nation, while others mirrored their vote to the KenPom rankings, 21, and put the Tigers at No. 23. After all the votes were tallied, LSU jumped up from No. 19 to 13 in this week’s AP poll, while they are 15th in the USA Today Coaches poll.

From there, however, things get a little more dicey for LSU. The computer’s aren’t quite as impressed with LSU as the human polls are. LSU actually dropped two spots from 14 to 16 in the NCAA’s NET rankings, and like I said in the previous paragraph, the Tigers are outside the top-20 in the KenPom ratings at No. 21.

But, regardless of how impressive the Tigers are in the advanced analytical department, no one can deny the 21 wins and the tie for first place they have in the conference. Whether its eking out a tight game in Rupp or struggling to put away a less talented Georgia team, LSU is getting wins and that’s all that matters as we get closer to March.

On to the projections.

ESPN Projection: Four Seed vs. No. 13 Hofstra in Jacksonville (East Region); Las Week: Five Seed

CBS Projection: Three Seed vs. No. 14 Old Dominion in Jacksonville (West Region); Last Week: Four Seed

USA Today Projection: Three Seed vs. No. 14 Old Dominion in Jacksonville (West Region); Last Week: Five Seed

SB Nation Projection: Three Seed vs. No. 14 South Dakota State in Jacksonville (West Region); Last Week: Five Seed

A couple of thoughts:

  • We’re 27 days from Selection Sunday and the idea of LSU being not only a tournament team, but a highly seeded team, is beginning to look more and more like a reality.
  • I didn’t get a chance to include this last week, but LSU has six Quadrant 1 wins. The Quadrant system is a newer component the Selection Committee looks at, it serves a similar role to the old “wins over top-X RPI” criterion. Quad 1 are home games against teams ranked 1-30, neutral site games against 1-50 opponents, or away contests in the top-75.
  • The wins over UNC-Greensboro and Furman are shaping up to be a little more valuable for LSU than probably initially expected when the schedule first came out.
  • Kentucky lost at the buzzer Tuesday against LSU and proceeded to beat the former No. 1 Vols by 17 in Rupp. The Cats stay at five in the NET, while Tennessee drops just behind them at six.
  • Alabama and Florida’s tournament bid dreams are hanging by a thread. The Tide and Gators show up on various websites “also considered” lists. LSU gets their first of two games against Florida Wednesday night and will have to make the return trips to Tuscaloosa and Gainesville March 2 and 6 respectively.
  • Likely SEC bids for the tournament if the bracket was announced today: LSU, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Auburn, Miss State. Alabama’s a fringe tournament team, while Florida has a lot of work to do to make it back.