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1/22/17 5:55 am CST

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Good morning, Tiger Fans,

I hate to start your Sunday this way, but I have to report that the LSU men’s basketball team lost its fifth straight game last night, falling to 9-9 on the season with a 99-86 loss at Arkansas. Though LSU would fight to get the game to single digits several times throughout the contest, the Tigers’ struggling defense created opportunities for the Hogs on the other end and poor second-half free-throw shooting spoiled any possibility of a comeback. Here’s how the game played out.

While LSU started its contests against Alabama and Auburn competitively in its past two outings, the Tigers fell behind quickly to Arkansas. The Hogs outscored LSU 15-4 at the start of the game, and LSU made only two of its first 12 attempted field goals. LSU used strong defense from Skylar Mays to create some easy buckets and clawed its way back into the contest. A 10-2 run cut Arkansas’ lead to four with six minutes to go in the half, but that success was short-lived. Arkansas regained command to take a 10-point lead into the break. Arkansas made 56 percent of its shots in the first half, while LSU made just 38 percent. Skyler Mays had a career-high 14 points in the first 20 minutes, while Antonio Blakeney only had two points on four field goal attempts. There was also a huge discrepancy in 3-point field goal percentage, as Arkansas made 50 percent compared to LSU’s 2-for-12 performance. Because of Arkansas’ efficiency, the Hogs led 47-37 after the first half despite turning the ball over 10 times.

LSU’s defense was ghostly in the second half. While the Tigers did allow 47 points in the first stanza, they were at least pressuring the ball and producing turnovers. The same cannot be said for the second half, as Arkansas got far too many easy buckets around the rim. Contributing factors for that were lazy defense and certain Tigers being unaware of the whereabouts of their teammates. Seemingly every time LSU would take a crack at Arkansas’ lead, the Tigers were slow on defense and gave up a big basket on the other end, which pretty much summarizes the Tigers’ second half performance. To LSU’s credit, the team didn’t go down without a fight. Late in the second half, LSU went on a 12-2 run to cut Arkansas’ lead to six with approximately two minutes to go.  LSU made six straight field goals over that run. Arkansas eventually closed the game out, taking advantage of missed LSU free throws down the stretch (LSU was four of 14 from the charity stripe in the second half). Blakeney was much more involved on the offensive end in the second half and finished with 14 points. Mays led the team with 22 points which was by far the biggest positive takeaway from the contest.

Final thoughts on the game: Things look so bad for the men's basketball team this season that moral victories might be all that remain for the Tigers. Perhaps 3-4 more wins are possible, but even a 5-13 SEC season would have to be considered a huge failure. Where have things gone wrong? One thing that has been a recurring theme for Johnny Jones’ LSU teams, especially the last two seasons, has been a lack of discipline on defense. Consider that LSU has allowed 92 or more points in five of their previous eight contests. Last night was another example of the defense allowing numerous uncontested shots, way too much dribble penetration, too many second chance points and simply not getting stops when they needed them. Sure, too many missed free throws were another factor in the loss, but poor defense and lack of leadership are what continually plague this team. I am optimistic that better days are ahead for this basketball program, but as much as it pains me to say it, I’ve lost all confidence that they will come with Johnny Jones as head coach.

Next up for the Tigers is a home contest against Florida Wednesday at 8 p.m. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.

Now for some uplifting news on the football recruiting front… All of this weekend’s expected visitors did, in fact, make it in, including linebacker Jacob Phillips who showed up with both of his parents for his unofficial visit. Based on everything I’ve heard and everything I’ve seen on Twitter, it seems like Phillips, fellow linebacker target Willie Gay, and current LSU linebacker commit Patrick Queen are having a great time together. Adding Phillips and Gay to this class is looking more and more likely, and would’t that be something after all the talk about the position and the drama over Louisiana’s Dylan Moses and Chris Allen committing to Alabama? Now, I’m not ruling out the possibility of Allen flipping to LSU, but if he doesn’t, and if LSU ends up landing Phillips and Gay, that would certainly ease the sting of losing two elite homegrown talents. In fact, I’d just as soon have the No. 1 inside linebacker in the country (Phillips) and the No. 3 outside linebacker (Gay) as I would the No. 2 and No. 8 outside linebackers (Moses and Allen, respectively.) While nothing is ever certain in recruiting, I’m gaining confidence that things could play out exactly that way. And that’s not to say that LSU’s linebacker haul would stop there (it wouldn’t), as there are many other targets in play including inside linebacker Tyler Taylor who visited LSU last weekend, is at Auburn this weekend, and is expected to announce his school of choice within the next few days. Stay tuned, Tiger Fans, as this final stretch in recruiting is sure to be a doozie. 

In other news, LSU’s Lady Tigers basketball team will have another opportunity to get a win over a nationally-ranked team when they face No. 25 Texas A&M this afternoon in College Station. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. at Reed Arena on the SEC Network. LSU is 14-5 overall; 3-3 in the SEC, after falling to Kentucky, 55-42, at the PMAC Thursday evening. Four of LSU’s five losses this season have come against teams currently ranked in the Top 25, including three in the Top 5 – UConn, Mississippi State and South Carolina. If the Lady Tigers were to win today, it would be there first win over a ranked team, and a really big one at that, considering it’s being played on the road and would bring LSU even with Texas A&M (14-5; 4-2 SEC) in the league standings. Like the Lady Tigers, the Aggies are also coming off of a loss as they fell to Mizzou, 78-76, in overtime on the road Thursday night. LSU defeated Missouri, 80-71, earlier this season. Texas A&M and LSU have both defeated Arkansas and Florida, but the Aggies have a 77-68 win over Kentucky.

As I do most Sundays, I’ll leave you with a couple of good reads to go along with your Sunday morning coffee. The first is a writeup by The Advocate on LSU’s 2017 softball team, which I haven’t really touched on, and the second is a piece by SECCountry on a topic I’ve heard from many of you about lately, LSU’s live tiger tradition.

Have a great day, Tiger Fans, and please remember: If you value these daily doses of Tiger News, please consider showing it by donating to our annual fundraiser, which ends February 1. To find out why it’s important and how to help, please read this message. Thanks in advance for your support.




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1/22/17 5:55 am CST

Please read this important message and show your support for DandyDon.com.

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

I hate to start your Sunday this way, but I have to report that the LSU men’s basketball team lost its fifth straight game last night, falling to 9-9 on the season with a 99-86 loss at Arkansas. Though LSU would fight to get the game to single digits several times throughout the contest, the Tigers’ struggling defense created opportunities for the Hogs on the other end and poor second-half free-throw shooting spoiled any possibility of a comeback. Here’s how the game played out.

While LSU started its contests against Alabama and Auburn competitively in its past two outings, the Tigers fell behind quickly to Arkansas. The Hogs outscored LSU 15-4 at the start of the game, and LSU made only two of its first 12 attempted field goals. LSU used strong defense from Skylar Mays to create some easy buckets and clawed its way back into the contest. A 10-2 run cut Arkansas’ lead to four with six minutes to go in the half, but that success was short-lived. Arkansas regained command to take a 10-point lead into the break. Arkansas made 56 percent of its shots in the first half, while LSU made just 38 percent. Skyler Mays had a career-high 14 points in the first 20 minutes, while Antonio Blakeney only had two points on four field goal attempts. There was also a huge discrepancy in 3-point field goal percentage, as Arkansas made 50 percent compared to LSU’s 2-for-12 performance. Because of Arkansas’ efficiency, the Hogs led 47-37 after the first half despite turning the ball over 10 times.

LSU’s defense was ghostly in the second half. While the Tigers did allow 47 points in the first stanza, they were at least pressuring the ball and producing turnovers. The same cannot be said for the second half, as Arkansas got far too many easy buckets around the rim. Contributing factors for that were lazy defense and certain Tigers being unaware of the whereabouts of their teammates. Seemingly every time LSU would take a crack at Arkansas’ lead, the Tigers were slow on defense and gave up a big basket on the other end, which pretty much summarizes the Tigers’ second half performance. To LSU’s credit, the team didn’t go down without a fight. Late in the second half, LSU went on a 12-2 run to cut Arkansas’ lead to six with approximately two minutes to go.  LSU made six straight field goals over that run. Arkansas eventually closed the game out, taking advantage of missed LSU free throws down the stretch (LSU was four of 14 from the charity stripe in the second half). Blakeney was much more involved on the offensive end in the second half and finished with 14 points. Mays led the team with 22 points which was by far the biggest positive takeaway from the contest.

Final thoughts on the game: Things look so bad for the men's basketball team this season that moral victories might be all that remain for the Tigers. Perhaps 3-4 more wins are possible, but even a 5-13 SEC season would have to be considered a huge failure. Where have things gone wrong? One thing that has been a recurring theme for Johnny Jones’ LSU teams, especially the last two seasons, has been a lack of discipline on defense. Consider that LSU has allowed 92 or more points in five of their previous eight contests. Last night was another example of the defense allowing numerous uncontested shots, way too much dribble penetration, too many second chance points and simply not getting stops when they needed them. Sure, too many missed free throws were another factor in the loss, but poor defense and lack of leadership are what continually plague this team. I am optimistic that better days are ahead for this basketball program, but as much as it pains me to say it, I’ve lost all confidence that they will come with Johnny Jones as head coach.

Next up for the Tigers is a home contest against Florida Wednesday at 8 p.m. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.

Now for some uplifting news on the football recruiting front… All of this weekend’s expected visitors did, in fact, make it in, including linebacker Jacob Phillips who showed up with both of his parents for his unofficial visit. Based on everything I’ve heard and everything I’ve seen on Twitter, it seems like Phillips, fellow linebacker target Willie Gay, and current LSU linebacker commit Patrick Queen are having a great time together. Adding Phillips and Gay to this class is looking more and more likely, and would’t that be something after all the talk about the position and the drama over Louisiana’s Dylan Moses and Chris Allen committing to Alabama? Now, I’m not ruling out the possibility of Allen flipping to LSU, but if he doesn’t, and if LSU ends up landing Phillips and Gay, that would certainly ease the sting of losing two elite homegrown talents. In fact, I’d just as soon have the No. 1 inside linebacker in the country (Phillips) and the No. 3 outside linebacker (Gay) as I would the No. 2 and No. 8 outside linebackers (Moses and Allen, respectively.) While nothing is ever certain in recruiting, I’m gaining confidence that things could play out exactly that way. And that’s not to say that LSU’s linebacker haul would stop there (it wouldn’t), as there are many other targets in play including inside linebacker Tyler Taylor who visited LSU last weekend, is at Auburn this weekend, and is expected to announce his school of choice within the next few days. Stay tuned, Tiger Fans, as this final stretch in recruiting is sure to be a doozie. 

In other news, LSU’s Lady Tigers basketball team will have another opportunity to get a win over a nationally-ranked team when they face No. 25 Texas A&M this afternoon in College Station. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. at Reed Arena on the SEC Network. LSU is 14-5 overall; 3-3 in the SEC, after falling to Kentucky, 55-42, at the PMAC Thursday evening. Four of LSU’s five losses this season have come against teams currently ranked in the Top 25, including three in the Top 5 – UConn, Mississippi State and South Carolina. If the Lady Tigers were to win today, it would be there first win over a ranked team, and a really big one at that, considering it’s being played on the road and would bring LSU even with Texas A&M (14-5; 4-2 SEC) in the league standings. Like the Lady Tigers, the Aggies are also coming off of a loss as they fell to Mizzou, 78-76, in overtime on the road Thursday night. LSU defeated Missouri, 80-71, earlier this season. Texas A&M and LSU have both defeated Arkansas and Florida, but the Aggies have a 77-68 win over Kentucky.

As I do most Sundays, I’ll leave you with a couple of good reads to go along with your Sunday morning coffee. The first is a writeup by The Advocate on LSU’s 2017 softball team, which I haven’t really touched on, and the second is a piece by SECCountry on a topic I’ve heard from many of you about lately, LSU’s live tiger tradition.

Have a great day, Tiger Fans, and please remember: If you value these daily doses of Tiger News, please consider showing it by donating to our annual fundraiser, which ends February 1. To find out why it’s important and how to help, please read this message. Thanks in advance for your support.

1/21/17 5:40 am CST

Please read this important message and show your support for DandyDon.com.

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

LSU picked up its 20th commitment for 2017 yesterday when wide receiver Racey McMath gave his verbal pledge to the Tigers. McMath (6-3, 210, Edna Karr, No. 11 on our list of Top LA Prospects for 2017) is the second-highest ranked wide receiver in the state of Louisiana, behind Davonta Smith of Amite, and is a great get for Coach Ed Orgeron and staff at a position of need. McMath chose LSU over offers from Texas A&M, Mississippi State, Miami and others. To check out what kind of prospect McMath is, here are his video highlights

McMath’s commitment marks the start of what could be a very significant weekend in recruiting for LSU. Coach Ed Orgeron and his staff are hosting another star-studded group of visitors this weekend, including several players already committed to LSU and five big remaining targets. The biggest of the remaining targets is linebacker Jacob Phillips who is committed to Oklahoma but will be visiting LSU along with his family on an unofficial visit. The other four remaining targets visiting this weekend, all on official visits, are linebackers Willie Gay, pass rusher extraordinaire Markaviest Bryant, wide receiver Marlon Williams and defensive end Justin Harris. This is a big weekend not only because of all these LSU targets who will be in Baton Rouge, but because of all the LSU targets – in-state targets, that is – who will be visiting Tuscaloosa. As mentioned yesterday, Chris Allen, Davonta Smith, Todd Harris, and Phidarius Mathis will all be visiting Alabama. In addition, LSU’s top remaining running back recruit, Travis Etienne of Jennings, is visiting Clemson this weekend, and WDE/LB target K'lavon Chaisson  is visiting Texas. If any news breaks on any of these guys, I’ll be sure to let you know.

Yesterday when I gave you my thoughts on several targets left on LSU’s board, I forgot to mention two linebackers, Tyler Taylor and Ellis Brooks. Taylor visited LSU last weekend and LSU, Auburn and Oklahoma are believed to be his leaders. His school of choice announcement could come in the next few days. As for Brooks, he’s from Richmond, VA, which is a long way from Baton Rouge, but from what I understand his visit to LSU went very well this week. He was in Baton Rouge from Sunday night until Tuesday. Currently, Maryland appears to lead for his signature, though I wouldn’t count out the Tigers. 

In men’s basketball news, LSU (9-8, 1-5) plays in Fayetteville vs. the Arkansas Razorbacks (14-4, 3-3) tonight in a 7:30 p.m. contest on the SEC Network. After an impressive 11-1 non-conference start, the Razorbacks have had an up and down season in conference play, winning games at Tennessee (82-78) and vs. Missouri (92-73) while losing to No. 5 UK (97-71), No. 19 Florida (81-72) and Mississippi State (84-78). Arkansas’ most recent victory came against Texas A&M (62-60) in College Station, where the Tigers lost in embarrassing fashion (92-62) just 10 days ago. LSU seldom wins at Bud Walton Arena, though the Tigers did upset the Razorbacks 81-78 two seasons ago. Last year, with eventual No. 1 NBA pick Ben Simmons, LSU was throttled in Fayetteville to the tune of 85-65. 

In the last two contests, we have seen the Tigers play with much more intensity than several of their previous contests. Unfortunately, LSU had fatal lapses on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor to lose both of those games. Against Alabama, the Tigers mixed zone defense with man-to-man to hold the Crimson Tide to 56 points in the first 35 minutes but crumbled late in being outscored 25-10 in the final five minutes of an 81-66 home loss. At Auburn, the Tigers raced out to a 26-15 lead in the first 11 + minutes of the first half, but costly turnovers and ineffective offensive execution led to a 42-16 run by Auburn and 57-42 lead with about 12 minutes remaining. While LSU fought back and almost pulled off an amazing comeback in Auburn Arena, the Tigers fell short again and now have lost six of their previous seven games. Without question, LSU will have to play disciplined basketball for a full 40 minutes to beat a talented and veteran Razorbacks team that is starting to catch fire after winning their previous two SEC contests.

Now. with just 27 days remaining until the start of baseball, I’ve got to tell you that I’ve got a bad case of spring fever. Part of that is knowing that those tomato seeds I planted last weekend are starting to sprout in my greenhouse, and part is knowing that in less than a week LSU will begin preseason baseball practice. With that in mind, today we’ll continue our mini-countdown to Game Day by introducing you to a freshman who wears the No. 27, right-handed pitcher Matthew Beck of Alexandria. If that name sounds familiar, it might be because Beck was an outstanding football prospect as well, an All-State quarterback at ASH. As good as he was at football (he turned heads at an LSU football camp I attended in 2014), he’s even better at baseball. I might add that he’s even better in the classroom, as he graduated in the National Honor Society with a 4.0 GPA. As for how he might be used as a member of the LSU baseball team, here’s what coach Mainieri is quoted as saying about him in Beck’s official LSU bio: “Matthew might be the ‘sleeper’ of this class, as he has as much upside as any pitcher coming to campus. Matthew chose LSU Baseball over continuing his football career as a quarterback at a number of Division 1 football programs. Matthew led the state of Louisiana in passing yards and touchdowns in 2015, and we are very excited for him to get to campus. At 6'7" he may draw some comparisons to 2009 LSU National Champion Anthony Ranaudo, and we think he has that type of potential on the mound for us. His fastball will sit in the 88-90 range, and we are excited for his development. This is another one of those guys that you get excited about knowing they will learn under the tutelage of Alan Dunn.”

In gymnastics news, the second-ranked LSU Tigers improved to 3-0 on the season with a 197.475-192.625 win over TWU. More than 11,500 fans were in attendance for the match, the fourth-most in the history of the program. With the victory, the Tigers extended their winnings streak inside the PMAC to 23-straight meets. For more on the win, see this article on LSUSports.net

Today’s closing tidbits: 

• Congratulations to former LSU Basketball star Tasmin Mitchell for being named one of the 2017 SEC Basketball Legends. For more on the topic, see this article on LSUSports.net

• Sunday’s NFC championship game between the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons will be the final football game at the Georgia Dome. To help commemorate the occasion, LSU has released these highlights of some of LSU’s greatest moments in the Georgia Dome.

• Last but not least, my seemingly relentless reminder of our annual fundraiser, which is in its final 10-day stretch. If you value these daily reports, I ask that you help keep them coming by pledging your support. To find out how and why, please read this important message. Thanks for your consideration. 



 

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