NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- This one was over in the first half.
And let’s be honest, LSU's season was over -- a season that had any chance of ending with an NCAA tournament berth -- a month ago.
Texas A&M played Saturday like the SEC’s top seed. LSU played like it couldn’t wait to get back to the bayou in a 71-38 beatdown that was never close and punctuated the growing sentiment that LSU is one of the country’s most underachieving teams.
The Aggies (26-8) now get a chance to pull off the SEC double. They shared the regular-season championship with Kentucky, their first SEC title of any kind since joining the league, and will shoot for the SEC tournament championship on Sunday against the Georgia-Kentucky winner.
Not to take anything away from Texas A&M, but the staggering part of this game was how abysmal LSU (19-14) was when the Tigers needed a win in the worst way to make any claim for an NCAA tournament berth. They went the entire first half without an assist, were stuck on 23 points for what seemed like an eternity and went 1-for-26 from the field in one horrific stretch in the second half. And if that isn’t enough, they became the first team in the SEC tournament not to reach 40 points in a game since 1985.
Red-hot Aggies: It couldn’t get much better for coach Billy Kennedy and his Aggies right now. They’ve won eight straight and are playing some of their best basketball at just the right time, and the school just announced a new five-year deal for Kennedy.
Foul trouble for Simmons: Assuming the NIT wants LSU, Ben Simmons will say so long to college basketball there. Similar to the quarterfinal game against Tennessee, Simmons ran into foul trouble in the first half against Texas A&M. He picked up his third in the final two minutes of the first half and went to the bench.
Simmons finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds and showed his frustration late by spiking the ball and drawing a technical foul. He played less than five minutes in the first half against Tennessee on Friday after picking up two early offensive fouls.