LSU basketball gets its NCAA tourney tip time

PHOTO by Jonathan Mailhes

LSU, a No. 8 seed in East Region of the 2021 NCAA basketball tournament, will play No. 9 seed St. Bonaventure Saturday at 12:45 p.m. CT at the University of Indiana Assembly Hall in Bloomington. The game will be televised on TNT.

Tigers’ coach Will Wade said Sunday he thought his team might have been seeded maybe at No. 7, but understood the selection committee’s placement.

“I was surprised, I thought we’d be a little bit better than that,” Wade said. “But at the end of the day, we lost to Saint Louis and we lost to Texas Tech in the non-conference. We didn’t have a lot of meat on the bone in the non-conference because of COVID and just because of the way everything shook out so we didn’t have the non-conference profile that we needed. I think we were the top 8-seed. We were right there to get a 7.”

LSU lost to 80-79 in Sunday’s SEC tournament finals to league regular season champion Alabama. The Crimson Tide received a No. 2 NCAA tournament seed.

“The conference tournaments don’t matter, that thing was done,” Wade said. “Our seed was probably (known) Friday night and didn’t move a lot from there. We’re in the deal. That’s the No. 1 thing. We’ve got to get ready for St. Bonaventure.”

Wade is happy that after three highly competitive SEC tourney games in three days, the NCAA scheduled the Tigers to play Saturday.

“I do think a big point is just as much energy as we expended the last three days, to be able to play on Saturday is a big deal,” Wade said. ” I was worried about a Friday turnaround, we’re not getting there till tomorrow (Monday). We’d have to sit in the hotel a couple days, probably wouldn’t have been able to practice till midday Wednesday then practice Thursday and play Friday would’ve been a little bit tougher. I am pleased that we play on Saturday. Will give us a little bit more time to recover.”

Four of LSU starters — guards Javonte Smart and Cam Thomas as well as forwards Trendon Watford and Darius Days — averaged more than 35 minutes of playing time in the SEC tourney.

LSU bussed to Indianapolis on Monday morning for COVID-19 testing and quarantine, something required of every squad in the 68-team field.

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