Thursday, March 19, 2009

LSU's chances in the NCAA Tournament

Contratulations to the LSU men's basketball team on winning the SEC and advancing to the NCAA tournament for the first time since their 2006 Final Four appearance! The Tigers have had an extremely successful and exciting season this year --- no one can question that. Unfortunately though, I do not see the Tigers making any serious run for the national championship. The reasons are as follows:
LSU's starting 5 is as good as any in the entire country. The problem is, their talent ends there, as the team has no bench to speak of. Fatigue from lack-of-depth will be a factor in the NCAA tournament for the Tigers (as it was in the SEC tournament), because the team's starters play so many minutes that being forced to play games in rapid succession... Well, just look at their most recent game with Mississippi State. The Bulldogs shot 33% and won handily. These are the same two teams that combined to score 191 points in LSU's 97-94 win just a few weeks earlier. There is no other explanation for this extreme drop in shooting percentage other than the fact that LSU had just played a game the day before. Granted, so did MSU, but they actually have some depth - unlike LSU.
LSU cannot afford any kind of setback in terms of poor performances or energy. One bout of adrenal fatigue could be the Tigers' undoing. LSU coach Trent Johnson knows this, so his management of substitutions should be particularly interesting to observe.
That said, time will tell just how good the SEC (as well as every other conference) is this year. That's the beauty of it, come mid-March, the men separate themselves from the boys, and these debates are settled until the start of the next season. It should be a fun one.
Geaux Tigers and Geaux SEC!