It’s pretty easy to have two minds about this year’s LSU Basketball team, which yesterday cracked the AP poll at No. 22 and the coaches’ poll at No. 24. On the one hand, this team is 15-4 and 6-0 in the SEC, sitting atop the league standings as they ride an eight-game win streak. Head coach Will Wade deserves accolades for that, and particularly for the fact that since his first year’s team went 8-10 in the league he’s an unfathomable 22-2 in conference play.
On the other hand, LSU’s eight wins in the current streak haven’t come as easily as they could have. LSU beat a good Liberty team which is currently 19-3 and a likely NCAA Tournament team as the Atlantic Sun Conference representative by 17, and they went on the road and beat a Tennessee team, currently 4-2 and tied for third in the SEC, by 14.
But since then it’s been a succession of nail-biters.
LSU beat Arkansas at home by two. Arkansas is 15-4 and 3-3 in the SEC. They’re a likely NCAA Tournament team; it was a nice win.
Then LSU needed a miracle buzzer-beater by Skylar Mays to knock off Mississippi State by one in one of the worst-played offensive games of Wade’s tenure. Mississippi State is 3-3 in the league and 12-7 overall; right now they look more like an NIT team than an NCAA Tournament team.
Following that LSU went to Texas A&M and won by four, in a game the Tigers had double-digit leads in both halves. Texas A&M is 3-3 in the SEC and seems to be playing better, but they’re 9-9 overall. They’re unlikely to play in the postseason based on what they’ve done so far.
Then came a four-point win at Ole Miss, which really wasn’t a bad performance by LSU given that the Rebels’ star guard Breein Tyree had just a phenomenal game. Ole Miss, though, is only 1-5 in the SEC and 10-9 overall.
LSU had Florida down by double digits late in the game and had to hang on for a two-point home win. For the first 36 minutes of the game it was probably the best the Tigers have played, and it almost ended in defeat. Florida is 4-2 and 12-7 overall, and we’d say they’re better than that record, but on the other hand they suffered an ugly beatdown at the hands of Baylor Saturday night.
And then there was the blown double-digit second half lead at Texas on Saturday. The Tigers rebounded from that, but it shouldn’t have been necessary. That Texas is 12-7 and 2-4 in the Big 12 right now, and currently on a three-game losing streak, indicates they wouldn’t be in the Big Dance if selections were made today.
Meaning this isn’t the meat of the schedule and LSU ought to be cruising past most of these clubs. At times during the last several games that’s what it has looked like they would do, and yet Wade has to watch his team put on the Cardiac Kids act.
Most LSU fans would be happy to just take on the first interpretation, and be very fired up that Wade has a team without a “true” point guard and no discernible size undefeated in the league and ranked in the Top 25 at the end of January.
Well, that isn’t Wade’s interpretation. Here he was yesterday when asked about the topsy-turvy nature of LSU’s play of late…
Will Wade doesn't care about 15-4 or 6-0 in the SEC or 22nd in the nation.
"I've tried to be real nice about getting this stuff corrected, but it ain't getting corrected, so I darn well know how to get it corrected, and that's to be a raving lunatic. And it'll work." pic.twitter.com/nIO0eBG7Ym
— Cody Worsham (@CodyWorsham) January 27, 2020
How can you not love this guy? He’s 43-11 his last two years and on pace to put a team into the Big Dance in back-to-back seasons for the first time in 14 years, and he’s disgusted and threatening to raise hell on the practice floor.
Will Wade is well on his way to becoming at legend at LSU. Come out and make noise as he leads the Tigers against Alabama in the PMAC tomorrow night.