Bubble Watch: 5 Reasons Why LSU Won’t Make the Big Dance
5 Reasons the LSU Tigers will miss the NCAA Tournament
With the NCAA tournament just over a month away, it is time for teams on the bubble to start sweating as they await their fate on Selection Sunday. College Basketball has seen rampant parity around the country this season and the bubble is as soft as it has been in quite some time. While many teams have had their struggles throughout the season, a good showing in the final month of the regular season could propel many teams back in the bubble conversation, but some teams have already fallen too far to seek redemption in the remainder of the season.
One of the teams that is completely out of the picture at the moment is the LSU Tigers, who currently sit at 15-8 overall but are barely over .500 in a top-heavy conference. The Tigers looked impressive out of the gate winning nine of the team's first 11 games, but have since come crashing down to earth. In the Tigers' last 12 games the team is just 6-6 and has suffered several bad losses along the way.
The Tigers are led by junior forward Johnny O'Bryant III who is averaging 15.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game throughout the season and was the driving force behind the team's success early in the season. The team's depth is unparalleled with six players averaging over nine points a game, and the backcourt of Andre Stringer and Anthony Hickey make up one of the most lethal combinations at the college level.
LSU has talent at every position, but the Tigers seem to sleep walk through games against mediocre competition which has the team on the outside looking in. A team with this kind of arsenal is easily a tournament team on paper, but the damage the team has suffered throughout the season is irreparable which will cause the Tigers to miss the tournament once again.
Greg Douglas is a College Basketball writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on twitter @thegpd93 or add him to your Google Network.
LSU only has one signature win on the season, and the team's bad losses have been stacking up in the recent slump. The Tigers have already lost to two teams with sub .500 records this season while also losing to two conference foes that will not sniff the tournament this year. In the end, the bad losses outweigh the good wins which does not bode well for LSU's tournament chances.
Conference and Road Play
The Tigers cruised through the team's early season schedule, but have struggled mightily in conference play. LSU is just 6-5 in conference play and 2-5 on the season in road games. The team's inability to win on the road will be one of the deciding factors to the committee when it is time to select the final bracket.
Conference affiliation matters in college basketball more than any other sport, and that further decreases the Tigers' chances of making the tournament. The SEC is known for its prowess on the gridiron, but the conference has been top-heavy on the hoops side for quite some time now. The conference is currently projected to get just three teams into the big dance, ranking eighth among major conferences.
RPI and Strength of Schedule
LSU's strength of schedule this season sits at 85 and the team's RPI is 67. Teams have gotten into the tournament with much less than this in the past, but teams with higher numbers have missed out on the tournament in the past also. The Tigers' best non-conference win came against a St. Joseph's team who is currently fourth in the Atlantic 10 Conference, and LSU's only top-25 victory was against the No. 11 Kentucky Wildcats at home.
Lack of Name Recognition
The selection committee will want fans to believe name recognition plays no part in the tournament selection decision, but in all actuality it does not hurt to be one of the basketball powers. The LSU Tigers are a team that is always on the cusp of making the bracket, but have not made the NCAA tournament since 2009. The team's lack of name recognition on the court will not alone cause the Tigers to miss the tournament, but it will be a contributing factor in the selection process.