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NCAA Basketball LSU TigersSEC Basketball

Bubble Watch: Johnny O’Bryant III Saves LSU Basketball’s 2014 NCAA Tournament Chances

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

The LSU Tigers are the true definition of a fringe 2014 NCAA tournament bubble team. LSU has a couple wins against good opponents, but tough losses to Rhode Island, the Georgia Bulldogs and the Alabama Crimson Tide have killed their season. With their 2014 NCAA tournament chances all but gone, the Tigers’ game against the Vanderbilt Commodores was a must-win.

Vanderbilt absolutely dominated the Tigers in the first half, but a late run by LSU helped get the Vanderbilt lead down to just eight at the half. From that moment on, Johnny O’Bryant III went to work on the Commodores inside. LSU was only 2-of-15 from 3-point land, but Vanderbilt missed 22 of their threes.

O’Bryant had another double-double with 10 rebounds and 25 points en route to a Tigers 57-51 victory. LSU needed to win against Vanderbilt, so O’Bryant III took control like great players do. It’s as simple as that.

The Tigers are out of the 2014 NCAA tournament at this point and will likely need to win the SEC tournament to go to the Big Dance. They’ll be disappointed to miss out on March Madness, because if they had just avoided losing to some of the weaker SEC teams, they would be solidly in the tournament.

The good news, however, is that the majority of LSU’s roster will return next season. The Tigers may just go to the NIT this season, but they could easily be the dark horse to win the conference next season. The future is bright for LSU.

Taylor Sturm is a Columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TSturmRS, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.