The 2023-24 season for the defending champion LSU women’s basketball team is getting closer and LSU’s path to repeating is becoming clear.
Yesterday, the Tigers (34-2, 15-1) announced their SEC schedule along with the ACC-SEC challenge. Previously, the season opener against the Colorado Buffaloes in T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas had been announced.
One of the critiques levied against LSU, and coach Kim Mulkey, last year was that the Tigers played a weak schedule. That probably is not going to happen this year.
Ten of LSU’s 18 announced games are against teams that made the tournament last season, and more tournament teams are likely to come.
The two marquee games are both huge home matchups. The Tigers will have Final Four rematch against the Virginia Tech Hokies on November 30th as part of the SEC/ACC Challenge and will host the South Carolina Gamecocks who won the SEC but lost in the Final Four.
With two Final Four teams in the PMAC, the Tigers will look to shatter their attendance records they set last season.
The Hokie matchup, along with the season opener against the sweet 16 participant Buffalos and two unannounced matchups in the Cayman Islands Classics, will provide the Tigers with several strong early tests.
Virginia Tech had LSU beat going into the fourth quarter of the Final Four before LSU rallied off a 27-13 quarter to end the Hokies season and send LSU to the championship.
Both teams lose two starters from that game, but the Tigers bring in both the top transfer portal and top freshmen recruiting classes.
The SEC schedule is headlined by the home matchup against the Gamecocks.
South Carolina remains the only SEC team that LSU has not beat since Mulkey came to LSU. In fact, it has been over a decade since the Tigers won.
The Gamecocks lost five players to the WNBA draft. The Gamecocks should be in a rebuilding year by their standards, but still should be a top 10 team.
The SEC last season was viewed as having a down year, before producing the best record in the NCAA tournament of any conference. This year will not be a down year.
Texas A&M, Ole Miss, and Miss State all added top 10 transfer portal classes. Tennessee was one of two teams to beat LSU last season. All four of those teams will get LSU on the road.
Along with those four, the Tigers will play Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, and Vanderbilt on the road.
LSU gets Alabama and Auburn twice this season, along with annual opponent A&M.
The remaining four SEC home games are Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, and Arkansas with only the Razorbacks looking like a tournament threat.
There is much more left to the schedule, and it is safe to assume the Tigers have a couple more major matchups that have not been announced.
The Cayman Islands Classic that the Tigers will play in November, also features UConn, Virginia Tech, UCLA, Kansas, Niagara, Tulane and Virginia. Several of those teams should be ranked at the beginning of the year.
LSU’s schedule looks much tougher already, but they might be better than last season’s national championship team.