LSU Basketball: Tigers Continue to Struggle in 2012
For Tiger fans, it seems as though the LSU men's basketball team has been struggling quite a lot lately. The past year or two have been less than impressive for the Bayou Bengals, specifically last year when they won only 11 games. 2008-09 was the best season of the last three for LSU and even then they still weren't great. The Tigers were SEC champions, but were knocked out of the NCAA tournament by North Carolina in the second round.
Though they did do well Trent Johnson's first season, they really have not done much since. The following season the Tigers went 11-20 and did not appear in the NCAA tournament. Last season LSU went 11-21 and were outscored by their opponents 2,130 points to 1,991 through the entire season.
Looking back at all the numbers from the past few seasons makes me wonder, is it time for new leadership in the basketball program? I feel like this is a make-or-break season for Trent Johnson. If he doesn't do well in the coming months he'll probably be looking for a new job at season's end.
All of that aside, we are now deep into the 2011-12 season hoping the Tigers can turn things around and return to the top. So far this season LSU is 12-8 overall with big wins over Marquette, Ole Miss and Auburn. At the time, Marquette was the 10th-ranked team in the country.
Despite the good start, LSU has struggled since the start of the new year. They are 2-5 in 2012 and are currently on a two-game losing streak. Adjustments need to come fast if they don't want this year to end up like the last two. It looks like the fans have lost faith in the Tigers as well, judging by the recent crowds in the Maravich Center.
In 2012 they have lost to Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida and Mississippi State, and got wins over only Ole Miss and Auburn. That Ole Miss team was struggling with off-the-court issues during that game and were two players short, giving LSU the opportunity to beat them badly, and that is exactly what happened. The double-overtime victory over Auburn was led by a strong push down the stretch from guards Ralston Turner and Anthony Hickey, who each hit a few clutch three-balls to keep LSU in it and eventually provide enough to get the win.
When you look at the record, 12-8, it's not that bad. But the trend over the last seven games tells a different story. The current slide from the Tigers is the result of myriad issues, but one problem in particular has plagued LSU repeatedly: Turnovers, Turnovers, Turnovers.
The Tigers have committed 66 turnovers in the last five losses, and even in the win they committed 13, somehow managing to get the victory in extra time at the end. It is absolutely unacceptable to have 96 turnovers throughout the past seven games. That is nearly 100 free gifts to the other team.
LSU needs to fix that problem first and foremost, and I think that will solve some of the issues they are facing. The other problems that face them are on the defensive side of ball. Opponents have scored over 1,200 points against the Tiger defense, providing another obvious reason why LSU has struggled to find more wins in 2012.
LSU has quite the test on Saturday when the top-ranked Kentucky Wildcats come to the Pete Maravich Assembly Center for an afternoon match-up; tip-off is set for 3:00. The Tigers have a week off after Kentucky and host the Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday, February 4th at 12:30. Both of those games will be covered on the SEC Network.
That's all I have this time folks. Thanks for reading, and as always Geaux Tigers!
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