Before the season kicked off, the top two bracketology pundits predicted LSU as a number 8-9 seed for the 2022 NCAA tournament. A 12-0 start has Will Wade’s club much higher in the final round of predictions.
ESPN.com’s Joe Lunardi updated his picks a few days ago, ranking the Tigers as a No. 4 seed in the Eastern region, compared to No. 13 seed South Dakota State. That was up a notch from the fifth seed in the western region Lunardi had them in earlier in December.
CBS Sports insider Jerry Palm had LSU as a four-seed in the Eastern region in his latest update and should have another round of predictions in the coming days.
LSU’s resume supports those lofty seeds after one of the best starts in the program’s history. Along with the impeccable record, the Tigers are ranked #3 in the NCAA NET rankings. While that poll is the one that weighs most heavily on the tournament selection committee, fans tend to get more caught up in the AP and Coaches polls, where Wade’s squad is ranked number 16.
Maintaining those rankings will be a lot harder than achieving them with the start of SEC game for us.
LSU travels to Auburn on Wednesday for a trajectory with five top 25 opponents in the NET over the next seven games, including three en route.
This marks the best start for a Tiger team under Wade and only the third time an LSU squad opened a 12-0 season since the 1985-86 team won 14 games to open a season. A win over Auburn equates to the second-best start in school history, tying the team from 1999-2000.
Top scorer Tari Eason is expected back after a one-game interruption due to a minor back injury that kept him out of the win over Lipscomb. The Tigers sped their way to a 95-60 win in their final game, but Wade made sure his team understood that everyone needed to step up their game with the gauntlet ahead of us in the SEC.
“I think we’re underperforming,” said the main man. “I don’t think there is anyone on our team at the moment who is playing at their best. I think we are getting closer with some. But for me, until we let all eight guys play at their best, underperforming.
“Comfort is the enemy of progress. We have a lot of comfort. We have guys who are comfortable with the fact that they are okay with how they play and who are capable of so much more. We are capable of so much more when a team, if we get those guys playing better. That’s what I’m looking for. That would make me happy.”
Auburn has one of the best NBA prospects on the college landscape in Jabari Smith, Jr. at 6 feet 10, 220 pounds and has won more competitions in the past four years than any program at the conference. Anything less than the best of LSU makes for some tough sledding when the two join up on the plains at 6pm CT.