It's always tough to try and figure out who is going to improve and who is going to fall behind, but here's my bracketology if the season ended today. There's been a lot of movement since my December bracketology and there's sure to be more as we head into conference play.
For LSU, I think they are trending upwards. I had them as a 9 seed in December and I think they've earned a spot better as an 8 seed. They have some very important games coming up though.
I can't even begin to tell you how important the Tennessee game is on Tuesday. That game could easily become a tie breaker for 3rd in SEC if everything pans out as expected. LSU also plays a home game against Missouri this month. If the Tigers can win those games, it is very possible for LSU to go into the Kentucky game on the 28th of January either 6-0 or 5-1 in SEC play. LSU will have some road tests, especially a game at Alabama, but if they are playing well, the early portion of SEC play could be very good to the Tigers.
Their first 3 real quality games are at home (Tenn, Missouri, and Kentucky). If the Tigers can win 2 or 3 of those games, I'd say LSU is nearly a lock for the tournament. Those three games will be the most important for LSU. Obviously losing to a poor team has it's consequences, but LSU really needs some quality wins after failing to pull out the UMASS game as well as the Memphis game.
At this point I think it's most likely LSU goes 11-7 or 12-6 in SEC play, but if they play their best basketball, they are in contention for the SEC crown. I truly believe that. Month Schedule:
1/4 vs Rhode Island
1/7 vs Tennessee
1/11 @ South Carolina
1/15 @ Ole Miss
1/18 vs Vanderbilt
1/21 vs Missouri
1/25 @ Alabama
1/28 vs Kentucky Goal for the month:
If LSU can win two of the three big games and take care of business in their lesser games, the Tigers would be sitting pretty going into February. If they lose to Tennessee, Missouri, or Kentucky noone will see them as bad losses. Win them all and LSU will be in serious contention to win the SEC with Florida (Do not play Florida in January). Worst Case:
While LSU played well on the road against UMASS, the game at Texas Tech was ugly. LSU plays all their mid/lower tier SEC teams on the road this month, besides Vanderbilt. If LSU ends up winning away games, this stretch could make LSU's season, however, if LSU struggles on the road, this could really put LSU behind if they expect to make the tournament in March. Chances:
vs URI (95%)
vs Tenn (60%)
@ SC (65%)
@ Miss (65%)
vs Vandy (80%)
vs Missouri (65%)
@ Bama (50%)
vs Kentucky (40%)
Like I said before, this could really be a make or break month. If LSU is able to beat Tennessee, the Tigers could be looking at being ranked by mid January. The Tigers are on the cusp but don't have the quality wins quite yet. Tennessee really turned some heads when they beat Virginia by 35 last week, however, away from home they are only 2-3.