TIGER RAG VIEWPOINT: Where do we stand?

March Madness is upon us. <br><br> That's right folks, both Tiger basketball teams (men and women) are headed for the Big Dance.

The Lady Tigers head to the postseason as the nation's top seed while John Brady's bunch get the nod as a six-seed after closing out regular season with a bang.


Kentucky wins a close one over Brady's Tigers in Atlanta while the LSU baseball team finds it power stroke.


April Burkholder is in the zone as the Tiger gymnastics squad eyes the postseason and while Brandon Bass gets the nod as the SEC's top player, he gets no love nationally.


Where's the love man?


Brady gets snubbed as well by his SEC counterparts.


It's all here in our latest rant.



 Has there been a more exciting game for LSU in the SEC Tournament? Saturday's nail-biting battle between the Tigers and the Kentucky Wildcats is one that will not be soon forgotten. Brandon Bass hit a jumper as time expired forcing overtime, and while LSU did come out on the short end of the stick, playing the way they did in a highly partisan Georgia Dome speaks volumes for John Brady's team as they head toward the postseason.



  Speaking of Brady, and Bass for that matter, where's the respect these guys deserve. Sure enough, Bass became the first Tiger since Stromile Swift in 2000 to be named the SEC's top player. (Plus, we aren't sure but it is a good bet he is the first player to capture freshman MVP and league player of the year honors in successive seasons.) All right, if Bass is the best player in the SEC, don't you think he should be at least considered for the Naismith Award, the honor for the nation's top player? Nope, his name isn't on the list. Nor was Brady's name anywhere near the list of candidates for SEC Coach of the Year. Sure enough Tubby Smith went 14-2 at Kentucky, but Brady led a team that was once 6-5 to a 20-9 finish, including a 12-4 mark in SEC play. Brady can claim he is a student at Rodney Dangerfield's University of No Respect. Tubby was a unanimous pick for the league's top coaching award, that meaning Brady didn't get a single vote. What's wrong with that picture?



  To the NCAA Committee for awarding the Lady Tigers the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. In addition to being considered the country's top team, Pokey Chatman's squad was finally awarded geographic convenience thus being sent to Knoxville, Tenn. for the opening round and later to Chattanooga for the third and fourth rounds. Lady Tiger fans can actually have the option of following LSU, unlike the past two seasons when they were sent to the west coast. Also, it is nice to see LSU and Tennessee on opposite sides of the bracket so a potential UT/Lady Tigers national game is possible.



  To the NCAA Committee. While it will be nice to have the luxury of traveling to the state of Tennessee for the first four rounds, LSU will face some of the nation's top teams as Duke, Texas and Penn State are all in the Lady Tigers region. If LSU is to make it to the Final Four in Indianapolis, the trek will not be an easy one.



  To Tiger gymnast April Burkholder. She claimed her fifth all-around title of the season and second straight with perfect 10s on the vault and the beam highlighting the evening for LSU. The team total was the highest ever in program history, surpassing the previous mark of 197.675 set versus Centenary and Rhode Island on March 14, 2002. "She did a beautiful job tonight," head coach D-D Breaux said of Burkholder's performance. "She competed with a lot of maturity and was a real team leader."



To the Tiger baseball team for a weekend sweep of Arizona State and Western Illinois. However, it was the Clay Harris and Ryan Patterson show. Patterson went 7 for 12 with 7 RBIs and four home runs, including two each in Saturday and Sunday's games. Harris was a sparkling 8 of 12 on the weekend with three doubles, a triple and a home run. Saturday, Harris was a home run away from hitting for the cycle.



  To Bruce Sprowl, who will miss at least three to four weeks after undergoing surgery Thursday on a broken right pinkie finger, which he injured in the 6-2 loss to Tulane. Sprowl had three screws placed in his finger on Thursday and head coach Smoke Laval said he would be out probably close to a month.



Finally, while we criticize the national media (particularly ESPN) for not giving Pokey Chatman's team the respect and credit they deserve, we will eat some crow here. While Tennessee, Michigan State and North Carolina are getting most of the ink and airtime right now, six of seven ESPN analysts picked the Lady Tigers to win the national championship. All seven picked LSU to make it to the Final Four and all but one said Seimone Augustus is the nation's top player.


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