In the aftermath of LSU's 87-82 upset of Kentucky, most of the coverage will focus on all the things John Calipari's boys did wrong. Just as important, though, were all the things LSU did right. The Wildcats have holes that can be exposed, but their opponents still need the horses to do it. Most teams in the SEC don't have them. LSU does.
Up front, LSU goes 6'9 and 255 pounds (NBA prospect), 6'9 and 240 pounds (NBA prospect), and 6'8 and 220 pounds (NBA prospect). Johnny O'Bryant III, Jarrell Martin and Jordan Mickey can bang 1-on-1 with Kentucky's big men, which says quite a lot about them. They combined to hold Julius Randle to six points on 3-of-11 shooting. That's what will happen in the NBA if Randle doesn't develop a jumper and some counter moves, but it's not something many college teams have managed.
O'Bryant is from Mississippi, Martin is from Louisiana and Mickey is from Dallas, an indication of what makes LSU such a dangerous program. After six years at North Texas, which he built from nothing into an elite mid-major, Jones now has access to two of the most fertile recruiting areas in the country. If he can get one or two Top 100 guys out of the Dallas/Fort Worth area and build a fence around Louisiana, Jones and LSU will have a top 10-15 program every year.
The win on Tuesday gives the Tigers a 13-6 record and a chance to make a run at an NCAA Tournament bid. They are over the tough part of their SEC schedule -- their only two remaining games in which they will be significant underdogs are at Kentucky and at Florida. They ran with UMass and Memphis in non-conference, proving they can play. This is a team to watch, both this season and into the future.
At some point, Calipari is going to realize that he doesn't need to have a heart attack every season developing a freshman point guard. This can't be good for his health.
Things stay the same in the Big Ten
There was really no reason to expect Michigan State to run with Iowa on Tuesday, not with Adreian Payne and Branden Dawsen out. Nevertheless, the Spartans fought, clawed and hung around long enough to pull out a crucial road win in Iowa City, winning 71-69 in OT.
The story of the game was the Michigan State defense, which completely locked up Iowa in the second half, holding the Hawkeyes without a field goal in the last 10 minutes of regulation.
What did Fran McCaffery think of his team going 30-of-43 from the free throw line and repeatedly letting the Spartans walking into open threes in transition?
Video of Fran's kick, either to a coach's notebook or the radio guy's: https://t.co/C4czzN0Z8M— Bret Strelow (@bretstrelow) January 29, 2014
Sorry, coach, you are not beating Tom Izzo if your team does dumb things. Maybe next year.
Around the country:
- In a story that's not really a story, Doug McDermott dropped 39 points on 15-of-26 shooting on St. John's, including a dramatic game-winning three.
VIDEO: Dougie McBuckets drops St. John's with last-second 3-pointer http://t.co/z3h5ngaLP3— Terrence Payne (@terrence_payne) January 29, 2014
If you'll notice, though, he didn't have to work hard to get those shots. St. John's left him wide open with the game on the line! That's what happens when a grown man with skills plays against a bunch of kids, and McDermott mercilessly punished those mental mistakes. It's impressive in the same way that Van Wilder is impressive when he swags on freshman girls.
Don't worry, this won't be the last time I passive-aggressively hate on Dougie Fresh's candidacy for the Wooden Award. It was a fun game, and St. John's is a year away from being a really good team.
- Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Oh, its Scott Drew flying Baylor's season into the ground ... again. The Bears lost 66-64 to West Virginia at home, dropping their record to 1-6 in the Big 12. The next three? At Oklahoma State, home against Kansas and at Oklahoma. Over at Our Daily Bears, they are bumping Tom Petty.
- Don't look now, but Missouri may be peaking at the right time. With a tough 75-71 win at Arkansas, the Tigers are bringing some momentum into Saturday's showdown with Kentucky. If some of Cal's freshmen don't grow up fast, they are going to experience what life on the road can be like.