Originally written on Saturday Night Slant  |  Last updated 3/4/13
LSU briefly got to experience life with a winning SEC record. The Tigers won a closer game than it should have been Wednesday at home versus Arkansas, then dropped a tough game in a hostile gym at Missouri. LSU sits at 8-8 in conference with two games to go. If LSU can get one of the two, this season will be have been a success for first-year coach Johnny Jones.   LSU 65, Arkansas 60: The final line is much closer than this game was for the majority. The Tigers ran out to a 20+ point lead in the first half as Arkansas decided they didn't want to play defense. Arkansas is a bad road team, they just don't seem to care when they play on the road. Charles Carmouche again was hot from the floor shooting a lights-out 9-11, giving him 26 points in the contest. LSU was also helped by shooting 7-18 from three-point range, as the inside game wasn't working. JOBIII fought foul trouble for most of the second half, which coupled with Arkansas' deciding to play some defense, tightened the game. Arkansas' press gave LSU fits throughout the second half, but when JOBIII came back in with a couple minutes left he game the team a noticeable boost. Even though he only finished with 5 points, his presence was felt enough down low that it enabled LSU to hold on for the win. Missouri 89, LSU 76: This is a game LSU played about as hard as they could in, but Missouri's talent was simply too much for LSU to overcome. It didn't help that Mizzou is essentially unbeatable on their home floor. LSU's defense could not keep up with the other other Tigers inside, allowing them to shoot nearly 60%. LSU wasn't bad from the floor at just under 42%, but when your opponent is making nearly everything they throw up, you can't win. Mizzou's interior presence gave them multiple second chance opportunities to make points even when they did miss. LSU has a game at Texas A&M and a game at home against Ole Miss remaining. The Tigers can certainly beat A&M, but it's at their arena. Ole Miss just lost to Mississippi State, which is just laughable. The Rebels are faltering down the stretch and LSU will probably be fighting to finish 9-9 in conference on the final Saturday. I can see LSU winning that game. After that, I like LSU's chances to land an NIT bid, getting LSU to the postseason in a year when nobody thought they would. Johnny Jones has coached a thin, undersized team and gotten the most possible out of them. This team will be special going forward into next season.
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