THE RAG'S VIEWPOINT: Where We Stand

The madness continues. <br><br> While the NCAA Tournament on the women's side has gone pretty much according to plan (except for Liberty reaching the Sweet 16), the men's bracket has been busted in every shape and form.

Tournament favorites like Syracuse, Wake Forest, Washington, Arizona and Oklahoma State have all been bounced out on their behinds while the likes of Michigan State and Louisville remain in the hunt for college basketball's biggest prize.

 

On the homefront, Pokey Chatman's Lady Tigers continue plugging away as they have their sites set on the Final Four. Seimone Augustus gets more praise and Temeka Johnson is an assist factory in the Big Dance

 

Rohan Davey was in town last week and granted Tiger Rag a special sitdown. Smoke Laval's Tigers can't figure out if what they want to do while Yvette Girouard's team knows what it wants to do, but is having trouble doing it.

 

April Burkholder receives the SEC's top honors but the Tiger Gymnasts come up just short at the conference championships.

 

It's all here in our latest rant.

 

 

And away we go. Deservedly so, if you receive the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament you should be awarded the easiest route to the Final Four. However, no one, including coach Pokey Chatman would have believed the Lady Tigers march to Indianapolis would have been this soft. LSU has blown through three straight opponents including Stetson, Arizona and Liberty and are set to meet Duke in the Elite Eight. Granted, Liberty probably shouldn't have been there, but they earned the right with two huge upsets to be dealt the second worst loss in Sweet 16 history, a 42-point drubbing at the hands of the Lady Tigers.

 

 

To Seimone Augustus. Finally the big boys get it right. A year after Augustus received third team all-American honors, she was a unanimous pick for first team honors with her name on all 45 ballots. Temeka Johnson earned second team honors.

 

 

To Arizona and West Virginia. You could say the Mountaineers were the final Cinderella in the tournament. Reaching the Elite Eight, WVU jumped out to a big lead on Louisville, by as many as 20 points at one time, but eventually fell to Rick Pitino's club. While the Neers meltdown was painful to watch, nothing could have been worse than Arizona's cratering. The Wildcats led No. 1 Illinois by 13 points with three minutes to go. However, the Illini fought back, tied the score eventually won the game in overtime.


 

To Ryan Patterson and Michael Hollander. These two LSU baseball players are performing at the highest level. Patterson has been on a tear already owning 11 home runs and we are just past the second SEC weekend. Hollander has been a human highlight film at shortstop dazzling the crowds at Alex Box Stadium with a number of web-gem type fielding plays.

 

 

To LSU starting pitching. Lane Mestepey, Clay Dirks and Greg Smith have performed well all season long. Although Mestepey got roughed up a bit in a 6-4 loss to Auburn Friday night, Dirks was solid throwing a complete game Saturday winning 6-3. Smith left the game Sunday in the seventh inning with a 5-3 lead and nine strikeouts.

 

 

With that being said, Smith saw his chance for a win on Sunday versus Auburn go down the tubes when Justin Meier came on and blew the save opportunity. Meier, Determann and Jordan Faircloth all struggled against the Auburn bats as LSU lost the game and series with Sunday's 7-5 score.

 

 

Well, it is hard to saw thumbs down to Yvette Girouard's softball team. Playing with so many freshmen at key positions, the Tigers fell to 1-8 in SEC play after getting swept for the second weekend in a row this time by Alabama at home. The Crimson Tide drubbed the Tigers 6-0, 13-0 and 7-1 in the weekend series. While there is tons of potential and this team will be better for having endured this losing streak in the SEC, things are tough right now at Tiger Park.

 

 

To April Burkholder. Burkholder, who will go down as one of the most decorated athletes in LSU history, was named the SEC Gymnasts of the Year last weekend at the SEC Championships in Duluth, Ga.

 

 

While LSU was ranked No. 1 in the nation going into the SEC Gymnastics Championships, the Tigers fell short of the elusive conference crown losing to (of all teams) Georgia by .275. That is too bad for coach D-D Breaux's team that deserved the league crown, but one has to think that in a sport where you are judged for your score instead of earning it on your own, it is hard to think the judging was unbiased being that the championships were held in the state of Georgia.

 

 

To SEC umpire Morris Hodges. Working home plate for LSU's 6-3 win over Auburn on Saturday, Hodges was talking more than a little abuse from the hometown faithful at Alex Box Stadium. With Ryan Patterson facing an 0-1 count, the senior left fielder checked his swing which Hodges appealed to another umpire in the field. His colleague ruled Patterson did not swing. On the very next pitch, which came on a 1-1 count, Patterson did not swing at the offering simply watching an obvious strike pass by. Hodges jumped from his position behind the plate to ring up Patterson for striking out looking. But when he realized it was only strike two, he caught himself, but not before most of the 5,000-plus in attendance burst out in laughter.

 

 

Finally, here's a great big thumbs up to Rohan Davey. Back in town last week to launch his newly formed SIX, Inc., an organization that will promote juvenile literacy, we at Tiger Rag just wanted to say what a great guy he is and wish him and his foundation the best of luck.


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