So it seemed anyway.
No one could have believed that on the same day as the LSU football spring game, few people would be talking about Les Miles and the Tigers but rather focused on some distant basketball game.
Just four short hours after Miles
wrapped up spring drills with the annual spring game, usually one of the biggest
events of the spring, coach John Brady was to take the court in
It is not too often one university has two teams reach the Final Four. It has happened only seven times in NCAA history; twice in the SEC.
For each of the last five seasons,
the same school has sent both its men's and women's teams to the round of four.
LSU accomplished the feat this season preceded by
Duke pulled the double-dip in 1999
Many said the LSU women would make
Needless to say, LSU fans ambled about town with their chests puffed out like football stronghold of Baton Rouge was all of sudden the new Lexington, Chapel Hill or even Durham. Maybe even Westwood.
Well, speaking of Westwood, it was
those Bruins that sent the Tigers and their fans hurling back down to Earth
after UCLA routed LSU 59-45. The next day, it wasn't the men but the women of
As quickly as the enthusiasm had generated, it was over in a flash.
All in all, though, the 2005-06 basketball season will be one to be remembered for quite some time. No longer will the men's program be referred to only by the glory days of Dale Brown's pair of magical runs to the Final Four. Sure the greatest team never to make it to the round of four still remains the 1989 Tigers consisting of Stanley Roberts, Shaquille O'Neal and Chris Jackson, but LSU basketball is now more than just that.
There is new history, fresh history, accomplishments that young people of this generation can relive and remember.
Also, build on. If things remain in place and barring a Tyrus Thomas jump to the next level, Brady has all the pieces in place to make a few more deep postseason runs in the NCAA Tournament. By that time, the sky is the limit with this program and where its reputation may be at that time. Brady could be on the verge of building LSU back into the powerhouse it was in the 1980s and before the crippling NCAA sanctions of the mid 1990s.
The Lady Tigers' program is at a crossroads of sorts. The Seimone Augustus era is officially in the books.
Arguably the greatest player of the NCAA era (justified by being the only two-time winner of the Wade Trophy) to never win a national title, Augustus was the first overall pick of the WNBA Draft and takes with her the heart and soul (and most of the offense) of the Lady Tigers' team.
Duke gave Chatman and LSU fans a
glimpse into the future showing what it would be like without Augustus on the
floor by holding the all-American scoreless in the first half of the national
semifinal game in
Star scorer Allison Hightower is
In retrospect, it is a period of time which will go down in the LSU history books as one of the best ever. What the LSU men's and women's basketball teams did in a matter of four months is nothing short of amazing.
For the first time in the history
of the SEC, one school swept both the men's and women's outright regular season
On top of that, LSU claimed both the players of the year with Seimone Augustus and Glen Davis taking home the top brass. Plus a little lagniappe, John Brady was named coach of the year and Tyrus Thomas was tabbed the league's top freshman.
As stated above, the Lady Tigers were no doubt a favorite to reach the Final Four. Blessed with the easiest route to the national semifinals, LSU played as if it was the most difficult. Time and again, the Lady Tigers were forced to rebound from poor first half performance relying on athleticism to get them to the next round.
The men, on the other hand, were
dealt arguably the toughest road and thrived against the tougher competition.
After struggling a bit against
But in the end, both teams met the
same fate. Both the LSU men and women were held to 45 points each, being
defeated by teams that were eventual losers in the national championship game.
UCLA got drilled by Florid a on the men's side and Duke blew a 14-point lead to
Still though, while Tiger fans dreamed of a possible title sweep and LSU came away without even one victory, the season was one to be remembered and could be the beginning of more good things in the future.
Matt Deville is the editor
of Tiger Rag magazine. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.