0-2 Start. Eh, could kind of see that coming, right? New coach, thin talent, going up against a surging team and one of the best in the country. All could see two loses.
Except LSU has lost two more, to what many believe are two of the worst teams in the conference in Georgia & South Carolina. Both teams only conference win to this point is against LSU as both stand 1-3. The Tigers now find themselves as the only team in the SEC without a conference win at 0-4. Where do we go from here?
South Carolina 82, LSU 73 in OT: LSU let this one slip through their fingers. After being outplayed by South Carolina in the first half, the Tigers opened the second half shooting with fire, connecting on five of their first seven 3-pointers. Where LSU hurt themselves is giving South Carolina too many opportunities with turnovers and getting to the charity stripe more often than they should have. The Tigers led by four with under three minutes to go in the game, but couldn't close it out and it was obvious LSU was felt they had given it up by the time the extra time started. LSU only managed two shots and South Carolina closed the game out with nearly a 10 point victory.
So a trip to the conference's…deeper?…cellar might be just what LSU needed, right?
Georgia 67, LSU 58: …nope. In a game marked by poor shooting, LSU could not get anything going consistently. While guys like Johnny O'Bryant III shot well from the free-throw line, guards Andre Stringer and Anthony Hickey couldn't connect at key moments to give the Tigers momentum in the contest. Much like the South Carolina game, LSU found themselves tied 54-54 late in the game, but again could not come up when they needed it most. That can be chalked up to youth and inexperience, which LSU has a surplus of, but they are going to have to find ways to get it done or this season will truly spiral out of control. The Tigers continued their pathetic shooting from beyond the arc, where they made only six against the Bulldogs. For a team that relies upon its guard play, that's not a good omen when your better shooters can't connect consistently. The game also continued another problem in that the opposing team not only got to the line more than LSU, but considerably more than LSU. To win games, LSU is going to have to cut down on giving free opportunities to the other team. The Tigers have almost HALF as many free throw shots in SEC play as their opponents. Again, that plays to youth, but the young need to grow.
Next up is a Texas A&M team that has alternated between beating Kentucky in Rupp Arena* and losing to Southern at home. The Aggies are on a skid since getting the win at Rupp, with a pair of losses to Florida & a thoroughly mediocre Alabama team. While LSU has given no signs of being able to win a game in the conference, this is a good opportunity to salvage something. The Aggies are down just like LSU and this game is in the PMAC.
LSU will also have to contend with having just eight scholarship players available Wednesday night and that includes The Tuba. If the Tigers are going to pull out the win, they're going to have to get production from places that haven't done it yet this season.
After that, LSU faces Kentucky and Missouri. In other words, this really is the last decent chance at a win for a while. It's still too early to write off the season, a season in which three weeks ago looked like it could contain some promise. But, if LSU goes down again Wednesday night, they'll be staring down the barrel of an 0-7 start in easily the worst major basketball conference.
February 15 is less than a month away…
*That means Texas A&M has won at Bryant-Denny Stadium and Rupp Arena in their inaugural season in the SEC. Welcome to the conference, right? As our friends over at And The Valley Shook said on Twitter this past week, thank God the Aggies don't visit Alex Box this spring.