LEXINGTON, Ky. -- LSU standout Ben Simmons feels as though the Tigers need to win the SEC tournament to get into the NCAA tournament, and freshman teammate Antonio Blakeney told ESPN that finger-pointing ensued following Saturday's 94-77 loss at Kentucky.
"We've got to win it," Simmons said after scoring 17 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in the loss.
"Definitely," Blakeney added.
Blakeney, a heralded recruit who played with Simmons in AAU ball, said the Tigers have been far too inconsistent this season, and both he and Simmons said leadership has been an issue.
"Everybody was sad and mad," Blakeney said of the mood in the locker room after the loss to the Wildcats. "Everybody wants to point the finger at each other. It's crazy."
"Leadership is a problem," he added. "A leader has to lead by example more than his mouth. This team has a lot of leading by talking and not by example."
LSU came into the season with high expectations due to the arrival of Simmons and Blakeney, and the return of junior guard Tim Quarterman.
"I'm a little annoyed," Simmons said of his mental state. "I'm frustrated, but I've got to look at the other side. We've got to the tournament coming up, we've got to focus on that so I can't be holding onto this."
After the loss to Kentucky, Simmons was also asked if Wildcats sophomore Tyler Ulis -- Simmons' primary competition for the SEC Player of the Year award -- was the best point guard he had faced.
"Leadership is a problem. A leader has to lead by example more than his mouth. This team has a lot of leading by talking and not by example."
LSU shooting guard Antonio Blakeney
Asked why Ulis is so effective at just 5-foot-9, Simmons said: "If you touch him, it's a foul. He's crafty, he's got a lot of head fakes, he can shoot the ball outside. He's quick. Once he gets into the lane, you don't want to jump, otherwise he's going to get into your body or dish it off to one of the bigs."