Why LSU CAN Win the NCAA Championship
In two words: Angel Reese.
Sophomore Angel Reese is averaging 22 points per game and 17 rebounds per game in the NCAA tournament. She is simply a walking double-double. She is the SEC record holder for double-doubles in a season and been a force for the Tigers in the paint. In the biggest games of the season, LSU will need her to play big.
Along with Reese, LSU has a coaching staff that has experience.
With three national titles as a coach, Kim Mulkey has won more championships than the other three coaches combined. Mulkey has won a national title in three of her four final four appearances, bringing out the best in her teams in the most important games.
Third, LSU is playing its best defense of the season. The Tigers have held opponents to an average of 49 points in their last three games. The Tigers’ defense has been stifling and with high powered offenses like Virginia Tech, Iowa and South Carolina possibly on deck, LSU will need to play at the same level to take home the program’s first national title.
Lastly, Reese has a solid supporting cast. SEC freshman of the year Flau’jae Johnson can light up opponents and senior Alexis Morris has talked multiple times about wanting her last game to be in Dallas, her home state is Texas. She is going to be fired up and if either of those two have a big game with Reese, LSU will be a tough team to beat.
Why LSU CANNOT win the NCAA Championship
In two words: South Carolina.
The Gamecocks are the overwhelming favorite to win the national title. They are undefeated and the defending national champions.
Furthermore, they may be the deepest team in basketball. The Gamecocks have more depth than any team in the country and have more former McDonald’s All-Americans on their roster than the other three teams in the Final Four combined. South Carolina has a depth inside that none of the other teams have and frankly, their bench would likely have made it to the Final Four.
They are beatable, but it will large involve outside shooting and beating themselves. Losing in the championship game would be one of the biggest upsets in NCAA history.
Along with the Gamecocks, the Tigers will need to shoot better than they did in Greenville during the Sweet 16 and the Elite Eight to make history. It is weird to say LSU has been playing poorly considering the Tigers did make the Final Four, but it has been playing poorly. However, the Tigers have gone from averaging 84 points per game before the tournament to just 65 in the tournament.
Worse is the fact that the Tigers have played worse on offense as the tournament has gone on. Against Michigan, the Tigers shot 35.3 percent. Against Utah, LSU shot a deceptive 41.4% as Reese and Ladazhia Williams shot 65.4% from the field while the rest of the team shot just 21.9%. This culminated with the worst offensive outing of the season against Miami. The Tigers scored a season low 54 and shot just 30.2% from the field. The Tigers have also struggled from behind the arc. They made under three shots from behind the three-point line in three of their four final four games. LSU is not going to make it past Virginia Tech, let alone win a national title, if they do not hit their shots.