The regular season is officially in the books for John Brady and the Tigers.
And the end couldn't have come soon enough.
A season which began with a lofty
top-five ranking is nearing a merciful end as LSU slumped to 16-14 overall, 5-11
in the SEC. A year after winning the SEC Championship with a 14-2 record in the
conference capped off by a trip to the Final Four, the Tigers finished last in
the SEC Western Division.
There will be no Big Dance for
Brady's club this year, that is, unless the Tigers do the unthinkable and win
four games in four days this weekend at the SEC Tournament in Atlanta.
"We have a little momentum going
right now and have played pretty well the last couple of weeks," Brady said
after LSU's 61-52 win over South
Carolina Saturday night. "This win was a good thing from
a confidence standpoint. We will have two really good practices Monday and
Tuesday and, from what I understand, we will play Tennessee Thursday
The last team to win the SEC
Tournament by winning four games in four days was Arkansas, who defeated
SEC Champion LSU 69-67 in the semifinals. The Razorbacks went on to beat
Auburn 75-67 in the championship game to
advance to the NCAA Tournament with a 19-15 record.
Auburn achieved four victories in four days in 1985,
beating Ole Miss, LSU, Florida and finally
overtime to reach the Big Dance. Auburn went 8-10
in the SEC that season and upset Purdue and Kansas before losing to North Carolina in the Sweet 16.
Stranger things have happened, but
it would be a long shot for LSU to run the table in the SEC Tournament
considering they haven't won back-to-back games since beating Auburn and Ole Miss in
consecutive games back on Jan. 13 and 17.
But who is to say what could
LSU began to slide in the early
stages of the SEC schedule. Next, the Tigers lost junior All-American center
Glen Davis with a pulled quadriceps muscle. Then the bad luck began. Brady's
team lost more close games than you could shake a stick at.
At Georgia, LSU
lost to a 3-pointer at the buzzer. The Tigers lost three-point games at
Tennessee and at home versus Alabama. Ole Miss hit a
jumper at the buzzer to down the Tigers by one.
Ironically, when Davis went down, LSU's play improved and the Tigers beat
No. 3 Florida and nearly beat Kentucky in
the first time in the Brady era.
After missing four games, Davis returned to the lineup Saturday versus South Carolina, a game
which LSU won 61-52. But he was far from his old self.
"I don't think he is in great shape
right now," Brady said after the win over the Gamecocks. "After the Auburn game we took off Thursday, but coach (John) Treloar
worked Glen out in the afternoon and at night. He went through the practice on
Friday and played today. The team will take off tomorrow, but Glen and coach
Treloar will work out in the afternoon."
Brady said he expects Davis to play against Tennessee in the SEC Tournament opener on
Thursday, but it is unsure what kind of contribution he will make.
"I assume he will do everything
possible to play against Tennessee because even
though he played last time against Tennessee, he didn't do a whole lot," Brady
said. "He understands that, and hopefully he has a chance to get some
redemption. He should have some incentive to get in the best shape
Whether or not LSU has Davis at full strength, the Tigers must beat the Volunteers
in Atlanta on
Thursday if they want to sniff the postseason air. At 16-14 overall, the Tigers need 17 wins
to get into the NIT, so says longtime LSU basketball SID Kent Lowe.
Just maybe, though, if the stars
align, LSU could put together an improbable run and join the likes of Arkansas and Auburn in running the table in the SEC
Could these Tigers go from SEC West
flop to the Big Dance?
(This is an e-mail one reader sent
to Skip Bertman, and he copied Tiger
Rag when sending it.)
Cowboy, Jr., here, to thank you
from the bottom of my heart for a truly wonderful great ride. I know my Dad, Cowboy Hohmann, would
sanction this accolade were he still alive. Though, as you know, my Dad and me did
favor Carl Maddox, of course being a
good coach has something to do with being a great AD, so I want you to feel as
equal in magnitude. With some
exception, you are leaving the ship (presently the Flag Ship) in the hands of
good coaches and that is not an easy task in these times of "moolah
mooching." In addition, you have
brought us to new heights in sports facilities and sports faces, including a
high ranking in the overall sports program dynasty.
I, like many of my co-hearts want
to win, but realize that it is the competition that makes that desire difficult
to maintain. As for the conference
we share, there is in my opinion no greater! This magnifies the job you have done,
and, therefore, the magnitude.
My best to you and your family in
your future plans.
Matt Deville is the editor of
Tiger Rag. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.