Throwback Thursday: Celebrate the anniversary of the biggest win in LSU basketball history
Welcome to the Bayou Bengal Briefing, SEC Country’s daily morning column covering LSU football, with LSU beat writer Nick Suss. Today we discuss one of the biggest wins in LSU basketball history, the new direction of LSU’s basketball program, quarterbacks on wheels and much, much more. Enjoy!
On this day 11 years ago, the LSU basketball team pulled off arguably the biggest win in school history.
In its first Sweet 16 in half a decade, the 2005-06 LSU Tigers drew a tough draw to move into the Elite 8: No. 1 Duke. The Blue Devils were a 32-win team that ranked No. 1 in the nation and were led by J.J. Redick, who was the nation’s second-leading scorer and had recently taken over the mantle of being the leading scorer in ACC history.
But Duke’s talent and tradition didn’t faze the younger, less-polished LSU squad. Led by sophomore Glen “Big Baby” Davis and freshman Garrett Temple, the Tigers upset Duke 62-54 in the Georgia Dome, setting up an Elite 8 matchup versus Texas. Davis paced the team offensively, posting a team-high 14 points with five rebounds. And Tasmin Mitchell thrived as well, posting a 10-and-10 double-double.
But Temple was the real star of the game. Despite only scoring three points, Temple was the ace of the day, holding Redick to a 3-of-18 shooting day with zero 2-point shots made. Redick, who averaged 26.8 points per game and was the AP Player of the Year, scored only 11 points as Duke scored its fewest points of the season in a single game. By 10 points.
Of course, LSU went on to defeat Texas as well on its way to the fourth Final Four in LSU basketball history. But as recently as last month, Mitchell was quoted as saying that the Duke win was the better memory. After you beat Duke, anything feels possible.
But beating the best team in the country? That’s a memory LSU basketball fans can’t have taken away from them.
Snap back to reality
Now, for an update on the state of the present-day LSU basketball program.
The Tigers introduced Will Wade as the next head coach at LSU yesterday in an interesting affair held at the LSU Student Union.
It was both a session for Wade to introduce himself to the student body and for the media to pepper Wade with questions about the future.
Being that I am, you know, part of the media and all, I was there. Here are some of my takeaways from Wade’s introduction, three things style.
Thing 1: Boy oh boy, can Will Wade talk
I ran the entirety of Wade’s 4,655-word transcript through a text analyzer tool I use to critique my writing sometimes and the guy came out with rave reviews. Most impressively is the way Wade used repetition to nail the communal attitude he exhibits. He used the four-word phrase “we are going to” 94 times. He didn’t use any other string of connected phrases more than six times.
Think about that. Wade said a total of 387 sentences and addressed what “we are going to” in 96 of them. 25 times he said “we are going to be.” Another nine he said “we are going to get.” Add five “we are going to attack” mentions to the list. The dude was a master of clarity. And that’s an easy message to give off.
Speaking of which…
Thing 2: Will Wade’s message is simple
Wade wants LSU to be more aggressive, to hold itself accountable and to be willing to do that which its opponents aren’t willing to do.
The general thesis of his approach is that he doesn’t want LSU to play reactionary basketball. His offensive game plan is tactical. Shoot layups. Shoot 3-pointers. Get fouled. That’s all he wants. Defensively, he wants havoc. Press the offense until it makes a mistake, then take advantage of that mistake.
You ever hear the phrase “so crazy it might just work?” That, except with simplicity.
Thing 3: Will Wade isn’t much of a fact-checker
Not that it matters that much, but Wade quoted Abraham Lincoln in one of his funnier moments at the presser, followed by the line “I coached at Harvard. I didn’t go to Harvard.” Only problem? Abraham Lincoln never actually said that quote. Check the tweets.
— Nick Suss (@nicksuss) March 22, 2017
Get the man a scooter!
After his press conference came to a close yesterday, Wade was quite the busy man. He went and met with his new players face-to-face for the first time in the afternoon, and at night he was introduced at LSU’s baseball game.
But, perhaps most importantly to LSU fans, Wade took a brief moment to meet Ed Orgeron and put the two faces of LSU athletics next to one another.
— LSU Basketball (@LSUBasketball) March 22, 2017
It’s a cool video and it’s good to see those two guys meeting up. But if you look closely at the beginning of the video, you’ll see a student riding his bike in the background of the shot. That isn’t just any student. That’s LSU quarterback Lindsey Scott.
I have so many questions.
- Why is Lindsey Scott riding his bike near the PMAC in the middle of the afternoon?
- If this was after team workouts, wouldn’t Scott be too tired or sore to ride a bike?
- If this is before team workouts, why are neither Scott nor Orgeron at workouts?
- Why does Scott have to ride a bike at all? Shouldn’t he have a moped or a scooter or something motorized to help him navigate campus? Does he really have to exert that much effort to get around?
- What about buses? Is Lindsey Scott too big-time for campus buses? Or was he going somewhere that the LSU buses wouldn’t take him? If so, where was he going? Because the buses drop off right by the LSU athletics building. Which brings me back to questions two and three.
If we were ever allowed to talk to freshmen before LSU football practices, these are all the things I’d ask Scott. Nothing about competing for the starting QB job. Mostly just bike stuff.
You know, what’s important and all.
LSU football workout warriors
As he does four times a week, LSU football strength and conditioning coach Tommy Moffitt tweeted out his big board of weight lifters of the day yesterday. Here are your leaders from Wednesday’s workouts.
— Tommy Moffitt (@TommyMoffitt) March 22, 2017
Before I comment on the board, it’s worth noting the footnote on the tweet. Apparently Kevin Tolliver, Donte Jackson and D.J. Chark all hit a top speed of 22 mph in practice Tuesday. At his absolute fastest in 2009, Usain Bolt was clocked at 27 mph. And, presumably, he wasn’t wearing football pads.
But yes. The board. It’s good to see Maea Teuhema and Glen Logan repeating atop the board. As it is to see a guy like Trey Gallman work himself over guys like Derrius Guice, Darrel Williams and Nick Brossette.
Mostly though, I’d like to give props to whomever drew the eight-ball next to Saivion Smith’s name. That’s an incredibly thorough illustration for one drawn with a dry-erase marker. Those things are notoriously hard to layer with. And for you to not have any white showing through your eight-ball, that’s good work.
Whoever you are.
LSU baseball played a game last night
The Tigers took down Southeastern Louisiana 8-2 last night behind a 4-for-4 day from freshman Josh Smith and a three-run home run from junior outfielder Greg Deichmann.
- For more on the game itself, click here.
- For more on Deichmann’s home run, click here.
- And for the lo-down on why LSU pitcher Russell Reynolds cursed out SLU’s coach and dugout over a minor dispute, check back to SECCountry.com/LSU around 10 a.m. CT today.
The U.S.A. won the World Baseball Classic last night with an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico.
Listed among the members of the Team USA’s first ever WBC-winning squad is for LSU shortstop and Houston Astros rookie Alex Bregman. Bregman didn’t play all too much in the WBC, spending most of his time backing up San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford. But he gets a share of the trophy, as does his Astros teammate Luke Gregerson.
This probably isn’t the “world championship” he left LSU in pursuit of. But it’s a nice start to what will certainly be a long and promising career for the infielder. Now, back to spring training.
Today in made-up holidays
According to the folks over at NationalDayCalendar.com, today is “National Near Miss Day.” Apparently, on this day in 1989, a mountain-sized asteroid nearly collided with Earth, a strike that likely would’ve ended life as we know it.
Of course, given that this happened on a galactic scale, “nearly collided” means “came within 500,000 miles of.” And given that we didn’t even realize the asteroid was coming until nine days after it passed us, had it been a little bit closer we all would’ve been toast.
So today, celebrate the near misses in your life. Whether it was the aforementioned LSU Final Four run 11 years ago, the Florida loss in football last year that came down to half a yard’s difference or all the times a baseball player flies out to the warning track, you never know which near losses turn out to be blessings.
You know, the kinds of blessings that teach you valuable lessons about your existence. And also that scientists should pay more attention to the skies. Just in case we get another mountain-sized asteroid hurtling at us. You know, so we can prepare for doom and all.
Or just prepare for a near miss. Hopefully.
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