Not a ton to discuss at the top... the good guys lost their fourth straight and now move to 1-5 in their last six.
Let's break it down.
We shot the lights out
Texas A&M shot 85.7% from the line, 35% from beyond the arc, and 55.8% overall... an incredibly efficient afternoon that we'd all take every day of the week and twice on Sundays. So... what happened?
Turnovers and fouls happened. The Aggies turned the ball over 19 times (to only 9 for LSU), and were whistled for 23 fouls (to only 10 for LSU). Sometimes that can be attributed to a conservative offensive philosophy... but this was not one of those days. We attacked the rim, repeatedly, and whistles were swallowed.
The aggregate result was a much higher shooting volume for the Tigers, who attempted five more field goals and 23 more free throws. They may not have shot as well... but it didn't matter.
The personnel difference
The aforementioned foul discrepancy allowed LSU to essentially run their dream lineup for the entire game. Four LSU players logged 34 minutes or more, with wunderkind Ben Simmons logging an entire 40. No LSU backup played more than eight minutes.
Compare that to the Aggies' minutes log. Prime ball handler Anthony Collins played five minutes (with almost no impact) before exiting for the afternoon with a stomach bug, and Jalen Jones started the game on the bench due to injury concerns of his own. Jalen eventually played 27 minutes, but with five Aggies picking up at least three fouls our lineup was in constant rotation. Eight players played at least 18 minutes.
Perspective is tricky
This loss does not hurt in a vacuum.
When perusing the conference schedule before the season, almost everyone penciled this game as a likely loss. It's not terribly pessimistic, it's just the ebb and flow that a talented team tends to follow: win your home games and your easy road games, and lose your tough road games. A formula which, up until last week, we had still managed to follow.
The losses at home to South Carolina and on the road at Alabama flipped that script. Now, this game was no longer "loseable" if we wanted to win the SEC. Now, a solid effort on the road with an insane foul discrepancy in the wrong direction still wasn't good enough.
We had to have this game. If we wanted to cut down the nets for the first time in 30 years, we had to have this game.
We played our best game in weeks, and there are a ton of positives to take away... but it was still an incredibly damaging defeat.
Finally, some relief on the schedule!
Texas A&M plays four of their last six at home, with the two road games coming to arguably the two worst squads in the SEC. There's still time to turn things around, and we have a schedule that should help a great deal.
|Date||Opponent||SEC Record||Time (TV)|
|2/16||Ole Miss||6-6||8:00 (ESPNU)|
|2/20||#22 Kentucky||9-3||5:30 (ESPN)|
|2/24||Mississippi State||3-9||6:00 (ESPN2)|
|2/27||@ Missouri||2-10||3:00 (ESPNU)|
|3/1||@ Auburn||3-9||8:00 (ESPNU)|
BTHO Ole Miss