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LSU and Ben Simmons see NCAA Tournament dream die with predictable thud

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Johnny Jones' team has looked like it hasn't wanted to play basketball for the past month. Now, after a historically dismal performance, the Tigers are about to get their wish.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

LSU began the 2015-16 season with a top 20 national ranking and a top five freshman class headlined by a national Player of the Year front-runner who most assumed (and still assume) will be the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. The Tigers ended the 2015-16 season by scoring the fewest points of any major conference team this season, and the fewest points in an SEC Tournament semifinal game since 1946.

Needing a win to maintain any hope of saving their season and playing in the big dance, LSU looked like they'd rather be doing just about anything else. The Tigers misfired on 50 (FIFTY!) of their 63 field goal attempts on their way to being humiliated by top-seeded Texas A&M, 71-38. Johnny Jones' team nearly finished with more turnovers (12) than made shots (13).

The reaction to the performance was as you might expect.

Some, however, went down swinging with the Tigers right until the very end.

"Despite trailing 65-28" should probably only be the lede for a tweet if the player in question cured cancer in the middle of the game. Simmons, to the best of my knowledge, did no such thing.

The reality is that LSU appeared ready for this season to come to an end long before its woeful performance on Saturday.

For the past four weeks, the Tigers have played with a "let's get this over with" demeanor reminiscent of a three-win high school team ineligible to participate in the postseason. The players have made little effort to challenge shots around the basket, they don't appear to be running any sort of offense on the other end of the floor, there's no enthusiasm on the bench; basically, the guys wearing purple and gold have seemed desperate to be doing anything other than playing major college basketball in late February and early March.

Now, their wish is about to be realized.

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Greatest Cinderella: Was it the NC State Wolfpack or Butler Bulldogs?

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