Bubble Watch: LSU Misses Big Opportunity With Loss to Kentucky

By Matthew Sturgeon
Kentucky Wildcats, LSU Tigers
Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The Kentucky Wildcats held off a feisty effort from the LSU Tigers by winning 77-76 on Saturday afternoon in Lexington. The game needed overtime, but ultimately the home team came away victorious.

Julius Randle‘s strong move in the low post with 3.9 seconds remaining in overtime secured the game for the Wildcats who are now 21-6 on the season and 11-3 in the SEC. John Calipari‘s youthful Cats continue to have the look of a team that is still not fully in sync, yet regardless of how you get it, a win is a win. Whether or not Kentucky will ever be able to fully reach their potential is the question that still persists. Randle, the Harrison twins and James Young are all exceptionally talented, but together as a unit, they haven’t quite lived up to the hype.

For LSU and head coach Johnny Jones, a game that they were so close to winning and boosting their NCAA tournament resume now serves as a major opportunity that was missed. Make no mistake about it, this LSU team is very talented and if they are somehow able to qualify, they could do some serious damage come March. Johnny O’Bryant III is as good as it gets in the SEC and the Tigers boast a very talented backcourt as well led by Anthony Hickey.

Although LSU already beat Kentucky earlier in the season, they lack any other true quality wins. Defeating the Wildcats twice would have been a terrific feat, but I’m still not sure even that would’ve been enough to get them in the big dance.

Fortunately, the Tigers do still have a date in Gainesville, Fla. with next week’s presumptive No. 1 ranked team, the Florida Gators. If they can pull off the upset on March 1, LSU’s NCAA tournament outlook will become a bit rosier.

Matthew Sturgeon is a College Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. You can follow him on Twitter @OfficialSturg27

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