The LSU men’s basketball team (22-10, 10-9), cruised against Missouri in its SEC Tournament second round matchup 76-68 and earned a spot in the quarterfinal round.
If LSU wants to extend its stay in Tampa into the weekend they will have to do something they’ve come awfully close to pulling off but came up short both times: beat Arkansas, the No. 4 seed in the tournament.
LSU had Arkansas dead to rights in Baton Rouge back on January 15 but the offense inexplicably went cold, scoring two points over the game’s final nine minutes and the Hogs rallied back to pull off the win. Arkansas then used the momentum from that game to rattle off 12 wins over its final 14 games including the rematch against LSU at Bud Walton Arena.
But while LSU’s 0-2 against Arkansas this year, they’ve got some recent history on their side. Remember it was the Tigers who eliminated the Hogs in last year’s SEC Tournament.
While both LSU and Arkansas appear to be locks for the NCAA Tournament, both teams could climb up the seeding ladder with a good showing in Tampa. LSU could be anywhere from a 5 to a 7 seed, while Arkansas could get up to a 3 if they’re able to pick up a couple of wins this weekend.
To me Friday comes down to two things, the first being how much gas does LSU have left in the tank? Getting the double-bye in the SEC Tournament doesn’t guarantee success—LSU knows that better than anyone as they went one-and-done as the 1 seed in the 2019 Tournament—but it’s still advantageous not having to play until round three. LSU also made life harder on themselves against Missouri as they saw a 23-point second half lead dwindle down to eight because of, you guessed it, excessive turnovers. LSU turned the ball over 11 times in the second half alone which wound up making the final score look a lot closer than what actually happened.
I believe the other thing that dictates Friday’s game will be how many whistles we’ll hear. Remember in the game at Fayetteville, there were F O R T Y (40) fouls called in a 40 minute game which is just absurd. LSU was called for 25 of those fouls, highlighted by Arkansas’s Jaylin Williams drawing three charges.
How To Watch
TV: ESPN, 1:00 P.M. (about 25 minutes after the conclusion of Texas A&M-Auburn)
Where: Tampa Bay, Florida, Amalie Arena
DraftKings Line: LSU +2, O/U: 139
(Odds/lines subject to change. Visit DraftKings for more information.)