FEINSWOG: There is a tapeworm to be fed

This Sunday morning in Baton Rouge is one of those very few perfect days we have in this city, a place where, let's face it, it can be bitter cold in the winter because of the humidity and a place where summer air drapes on your very existence and makes you yearn for a few days, well, like this.

Quite a contrast from last Sunday night in Indianapolis, a day removed from the end of the LSU men's basketball season.


We were gathered to watch the LSU women play in their Final Four in Boston when a tornado blew through town. Doors in the hotel restaurant burst open from the wind, exposing the sideways rain flooding the streets.


Evacuate to the second floor ballroom, hotel officials instructed. We grabbed our beers and joined hundreds of others who all hoped the worst was behind us.


It was, except for the part about returning to our table and watching the end of the women's game.




The tornado did major damage to a couple of buildings nearby. Luckily Indy was OK, but that same swath of storms took lives and did horrific destruction down the road. The Earth continues to be angry and we have to assume Mother Nature is simply not a sports fan.


Just as we appreciate a beautiful spring day in South Louisiana, we also know what we've been through the past seven months. Every time you turn around it seems like sports is taking a back seat to the weather.


Not that it matters to LSU fans, who are able to separate the two once the whistle blows.

When the whistle blew a week ago Saturday night, it didn't appear as if the LSU men's basketball team heard it. Sitting next to me, scouting and still basking in a tremendous victory over George Mason, was Florida assistant coach Larry Shyatt.


He, too, seemed stunned at how UCLA manhandled LSU, completely overpowering its big men. The prevailing thought going in was that if UCLA could neutralize LSU's frontcourt, its guards could be the difference.


Shyatt and I both left the arena thinking that UCLA was the team to beat. And then Monday night Florida basically toyed with UCLA, capping a season in which almost anything that could happen did.


The next night, the LSU women completely melted down against Duke. There were times when you wondered if the Lady Tigers had ever practiced defense in their lives.


It was so bad that even missing part of the game because of the tornado was an afterthought. So much for having to go to a Final Four to learn how to succeed at one. This was the LSU women's third consecutive Final Four and third consecutive semifinal exit.


Which makes you wonder if making a Final Four makes a difference from one year to the next, especially in the men's game. UCLA hadn't been since 1995. Florida hadn't been since 2000, which probably meant nothing to its players.


Now LSU has been and knows what it's like and all that goes with it. Glen "Big Baby" Davis talked all postseason about "having a tapeworm" in his belly that had to be fed. That tapeworm got off easy that night against UCLA.


Tyrus Thomas is sure to go to the NBA, but even so LSU should be a top-10 team when the ball bounces again next October. Tack Minor returns, Magnum Rolle will be a year better, and two transfers, Dameon Mason from Marquette and Terry Martin from Texas Tech, are ready for prime time.


When talk surfaced about LSU coach John Brady being a candidate for the N.C. State job, he said simply that he was recruiting and trying to get LSU back to another Final Four.


There is, after all, a tapeworm to be fed.




Lee Feinswog is a Baton Rouge sportswriter and host of the television show Sports Monday. Reach him at (225) 926-3256 or lee@sportsbatonrouge.com. His book, "HoopDaddy" is available at www.HoopDaddy.net.

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