Coming into the 2014-15 college basketball season. the LSU Tigers are one of the most dangerous teams in the SEC. The Tigers are young, they’re experienced and they’re sick of failing to meet expectations. In a conference that only boasts two 2015 NCAA tournament “locks,” LSU has an upper hand on almost every team in the conference outside of Kentucky, Arkansas and Florida when it comes to returning young talent.
Johnny Jones’s team lost veterans Johnny O’Bryant III, Andre Stringer, Anthony Hickey and Shavon Coleman, but returns one of the brightest freshmen in the country, Jordan Mickey, and a future NBA player in Jarrell Martin. These two players will form the backbone of the LSU attack, and a deep roster formed by several good recruiting classes by Jones should aid in this team being very dangerous, especially late in the season.
On top of their returning talent, they boast incoming four-star freshman Elbert Robinson, who, at nearly seven feet tall and 280-pounds, could be the dominant post defender that they so desperately need in the absence of O’Bryant. Robinson could quickly become one of the most dominant freshmen in the country upon his arrival to the Tigers.
However, the biggest red flag for LSU’s 2015 NCAA tournament hopes has to be their weak non-conference schedule. The Tigers face the UMass Minutemen and the West Virginia Mountaineers, and that’s about it. Their next most difficult opponent is the College of Charleston Cougars. LSU must make it through non-conference play with only one loss, or they risk must-win scenarios down the stretch against SEC opponents like Kentucky, Florida, Ole Miss and Arkansas.
Overall, LSU should finish with around 20 wins and be a lock for the NIT. However, they clearly have the potential to go to the 2015 NCAA tournament and do some damage, especially if they can get through their non-conference schedule unscathed.