LSU basketball and ULL absolutely need to play every year from now on

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C’mon, that was so much fun

First-round NIT games aren’t supposed to be fun. They’re rarely sellouts and most of the teams that win them view the games as consolation prizes. So, why was it that LSU basketball’s big win over cross-state rival UL-Lafayette so awesome on Wednesday night?

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The stakes were obvious: Win or go home. The intrigue was there: two opponents separated by an hour-long stretch of bridges and swamps with fans who don’t get along. And the competition was actually pretty good, with LSU basketball  holding on to win 84-76 despite a late push from the Cajuns, who cut the lead to 1 point with less than 2 minutes remaining.

But the drama came from the coaches, of all places. UL-Lafayette coach Bob Marlin had some choice words for LSU leading up to the game, insinuating that his team deserved to be hosting the game and LSU had been ducking playing his Cajuns for years. This led to some instant chippiness, with LSU coach Will Wade and Marlin ignoring each other pregame and nearly fighting on the sidelines during a timeout in the second half.

This prompted a classic press conference from Wade, where he fired back at Marlin’s comments with acute precision, listing off stat after stat disproving his claims. It really is a marvel to watch.


There’s really no other choice: LSU and UL-Lafayette have to play each other more. I don’t think it’s going to happen. LSU wants to play tougher opponents, and the beef is real right now. But for the fans of both programs, these teams need to play each other. LSU basketball doesn’t have a natural rival in the SEC. Or at all. This is the rivalry the program needs, even if it’s a way to squelch a little brother program’s desires once a year.

The coaches might hate each other. But the athletic directors need to get this done. It really shouldn’t be up for debate.

What’s next for LSU basketball?

Forgotten in all the hubbub surrounding this game is the simple fact that LSU advances to play another game in the NIT. The Tigers will have to travel for this one, as LSU will face off against No. 2 Utah in Salt Lake City on Monday at 8 p.m. CT on ESPNU.

The Utes went 19-11 during the season and earned a 20th win in the first round of the NIT against UC Davis in double overtime. Utah finished with an 11-7 record in Pac-12 play and rank as the No. 66 team in America in the KenPom standings. The Utes have two wins against SEC opponents in 2017-18, having beaten Missouri and Ole Miss early in the season, and also defeated NCAA Tournament qualifier Arizona State in conference play.

On the gridiron

The LSU football team will take the practice field Thursday afternoon for the team’s third practice of the 2018 spring session. As always, follow SEC Country’s LSU reporters Nick Suss and Alex Hickey on Twitter for updates and videos from practice, as well as quotes and news from player interviews earlier in the day.

After Thursday, the Tigers won’t practice again until Saturday, when the team should hold its first scrimmage of the year.

In Honey Badger news

LSU football legend and NFL star defensive back Tyrann Mathieu was released by the Arizona Cardinals on Wednesday, sending the Honey Badger into free agency for the first time in his NFL career. Naturally, this prompted pleas from players on plenty of NFL teams to try to recruit Mathieu to their city, including New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas.

But the coolest recruiting pitch came from former LSU safety and budding New York Jets standout Jamal Adams, who proposed a DBU reunion in the big city.

I can think of a few LSU fans who might buy some green and white jerseys if this happened.

ICYMI

LSU basketball dominated the day, but LSU football news never sleeps. In case you missed anything, here’s a smattering of the biggest and best content from Wednesday:

In LSU baseball news

LSU defeated South Alabama 9-4 on Wednesday, improving to 12-6 on the season and making up for a loss to the Jaguars last season. As LSU coach Paul Mainieri pointed out, this put the Tigers within one win of the team’s record at this point last season, and that team finished national runner-up.

So, what is this point in the season? LSU begins SEC play on Friday when the Tigers will host Missouri. LSU sophomore Zack Hess will participate in an ace-off against Missouri’s Bryce Montes De Oca, who ranks in the top 10 in the SEC in ERA (1.57), strikeouts per 9 innings (12.13) and hits per 9 innings (3.52).

Today in made-up holidays

In nihilism news, March 15 is Everything You Think Is Wrong Day according to the folks at NationalDayCalendar.com. So, don’t think, I guess. Because you’ll be wrong. All day. No one can be right. If two people give opposite opinions, both will somehow be wrong. Math will be impossible. Because you’re wrong.

Embrace it.

Miss a previous edition of the Bayou Bengal Briefing? Find every one of SEC Country’s daily LSU football columns  right here.

The post LSU basketball and ULL absolutely need to play every year from now on appeared first on SEC Country.

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