LSU Tigers Save 2014 NCAA Tournament Chances With Win Over Kentucky Wildcats

Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

The Kentucky Wildcats are clearly not the team that everyone thought they were when they were chosen to be ranked No. 1 overall at the beginning of the season, but that doesn’t take away from the talent of the LSU Tigers, who finally made some noise after defeating the Wildcats, 87-82.

LSU looked a dominant team from the very beginning. Kentucky had multiple opportunities to retake the momentum and the lead, but just couldn’t overcome the dreadful play of some of the team on defense. The Tigers got a huge boost from Johnny O’Bryant III, who scored 29 points and had nine rebounds, as well as Jordan Mickey, who got the better of his fellow freshmen, en route to the most important win for LSU all season long.

At 13-6 and 4-3 in SEC play, LSU hasn’t looked like a 2014 NCAA Tournament team to start SEC play, but fortunately didn’t lose to any bad teams in the non-conference portion of their schedule. The Tigers’ worst loss came against Rhode Island, who, at the moment, have a RPI of 129. All of their other losses came against teams with an RPI of 100 or better and will not hinder them on Selection Sunday. Part of sneaking into the NCAA Tournament is having a decent record with very few negative marks as well as a marquee win or two.

With the win over Kentucky and future wins over mid-range SEC teams like Arkansas Razorbacks, Mississippi State Bulldogs and Texas A&M Aggies, LSU could be a team that ends up being a No. 12 seed or even a No. 11 seed in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. At this point, their worst case scenario could mean a No. 1 seed in the NIT. Expect big things from the Tigers down the stretch.

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

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