DEVILLE: LSU ready for "One Shining Moment"

A tapeworm? That's right folks, the LSU basketball team has a tapeworm, or so says Glen Davis.

Big Baby told CBS courtside reporter Bob Wenzel just moments after LSU's 70-60 win over Texas Saturday in Atlanta that the Tigers "had a tapeworm. That they were still hungry."


All right.


Davis has a way with words, but through four games in the NCAA Tournament, the 6-9, 310-pound sophomore has let his actions do the talking on the court.


Davis had his most expressive performance Saturday versus the Longhorns. Big Baby scored 26 points to lead the Tigers sending LSU to its first Final Four in 20 years.


"We never knew we were going to be in this situation," Davis said. "But we believed. We always believed in ourselves and our team."


Three months ago, no one could have imagined the Tigers would be one of four teams left standing after four rounds of the Big Dance. In early January, LSU was 8-5 on the year heading into SEC play. However, those five losses came by a combined 11 points, including a one-point loss against eventual No. 1 seed UConn and a two-point defeat at future 2-seed Ohio State.


"It shows a lot of character for our team being so young, we have went through a lot of trials and tribulations as far as Ohio State, Connecticut, and we learned from those things," Davis said. "Tight situations. So it's not new to us to get back up and fight."


Speaking of tight situations, LSU was an eyelash from being bounced out of the NCAA Tournament in the second round. But Darrel Mitchell, the only senior on the roster, hit a long range three-pointer with 10 seconds left to push LSU past Texas A&M 58-57.


In that earlier loss to UConn, Mitchell and the Tigers weren't so lucky. Mitchell missed a game-winning three-pointer with just seconds left to lose 67-66.


"After the Connecticut loss I kind of was down on myself a little bit because I had a chance to pull us through that game with that last shot and that kind of hurt me deep down inside," Mitchell said. "I think that brought us together as a team and was an eye-opening experience for us and our capabilities as a team. And as individuals what we could do, to go on the road early in the season with the team that we had and we weren't even established as good as we are now."


Oh boy how good is this team now?


Since that loss to Connecticut, LSU has gone 19-3, including a 14-2 mark in league play and the program's first outright SEC title in 21 years. The Tigers are still alive, visiting the Final Four for the first time since Dale Brown took an 11th-seeded LSU squad to the Final Four, subsequently the lowest seed ever to reach the national semifinals.


UConn will be watching the national championship from home as the Huskies were bounced out in the Elite Eight by, ironically, the second 11th seed to ever reach the Final Four – George Mason.


The Patriots join LSU, UCLA and the Florida Gators in the most improbable collection of Final Four teams capping off what will be one of the most talked about NCAA Tournaments in history.


It is the Tigers' fourth-ever trip to the national semifinals having reached the Final Four in 1953, 1981 and the aforementioned trip in 1986. In 53 and 81, Indiana ended LSU's tournament runs by scores of 80-67 and 67-49 respectively. Louisville denied Brown's 1986 Tigers a berth in the championship game turning back Ricky Blanton and Co. 88-77.


Coach John Brady and his team have the opportunity to advance farther than any team in LSU basketball history. Many think the Tigers have what it takes to win the top prize. Brady says he and his team do not just think they can win, they can feel it.


"I'll be honest with you, you know, the celebration was great. I knew we were going to win the game, but there's something in my mind that says we're not finished yet," Brady said. "And I don't feel like this is over. I thought I would react differently, to be quite honest.


"Going to the Final Four, that's where it is. But when I was talking with Glen, walking down the hall and he agreed with me, for some reason this doesn't seem like the end to me or I'm not all overwhelmed by the moment. Because there's some more work to do. And maybe there's something more in store for this team. Who knows?"


If the Tigers continue to play at the level at which they have performed thus far, there is no question this team can enjoy "One Shining Moment" come April 3 in Indianapolis.




Matt Deville is the editor of Tiger Rag magazine. Reach him at

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