2013-2014 SEC Basketball: LSU Tigers Preview

By Taylor Sturm
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

The LSU Tigers ended last season with a 19-12 record that saw them miss out on both the 2013 NCAA Tournament and the 2013 NIT Tournament.

This season, LSU has the type of talent to shock the rest of the NCAA and be a top eight seed in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. The Tigers have one of the best returning teams in the SEC. Led by double-double master and future NBA draft pick Johnny O’Bryant III, LSU is a major threat to every team on their schedule.

The incoming freshmen are some of the most talented in the SEC. Jarrell Martin’s playing style complements that of O’Bryant’s perfectly, and Tim Quarterman is a talented point guard that can get the ball to three point shooting veterans like Andre Stringer. On top of those players, Junior Anthony Hickey is a proven SEC caliber point guard who can take command of the offense in tough games.

When it comes to the 2014 NCAA Tournament discussion, LSU has a major disadvantage over most of the other upper level SEC teams, an easy schedule. Yes, the selection committee frowns on easy schedules once it’s NCAA Tournament time, but with a squad as talented as the Tigers, they should go nearly undefeated in non-conference play.

Their toughest non-conference opponents are the UMass Minutemen in the 2013 ESPN Tip Off Marathon, and possibly the Memphis Tigers in the Old Spice Classic. Although the easy non-conference games will look bad on paper, they will help the Tigers’ young stars get acquainted with college level basketball.

LSU will probably go into SEC play with around nine non-conference wins. If they can avoid losing to the lowest SEC teams and win a couple against teams like the Ole Miss Rebels, the Tennessee Volunteers and the Alabama Crimson Tide, the Tigers should easily make the 2014 NCAA Tournament.

Johnny Jones’s team is far better than anyone is giving credit. Don’t be surprised if LSU does something crazy like win the SEC Tournament at the end of the season, because O’Bryant and company are that talented. LSU is a very physical team that will give many teams they face huge matchup problems.

The Kentucky Wildcats and Florida Gators cannot afford to overlook this talented Tigers’ team, or LSU could pull off the upset and cost them a No. 1 seed in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. The Tigers are a team to keep a close eye on in the 2013-14 season.

Taylor Sturm is an SEC Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TSturmRS or add him to your network on Google

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