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LSU's Simmons and top Freshmen in Hoops this season
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GoodOwl Offline
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Post: #11
MyBB RE: LSU's Simmons and top Freshmen in Hoops this season
Simmons ended up scoring 21 pts in today's 65-81 LSU loss to Tennessee on 9 of 16 shooting with 9 rebounds.
02-20-2016 07:41 PM
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GoodOwl Offline
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Post: #12
MyBB RE: LSU's Simmons and top Freshmen in Hoops this season
LSU's Ben Simmons' lone college season will likely end in the NIT
By Jeff Eisenberg, The Dagger on Yahoo! Sports
Tuesday, February 23, 2016

[Image: 201602232036741899972]

Six months before Ben Simmons made his LSU debut this season, the school began trumpeting the No. 1 recruit's arrival.

LSU launched a "25 is coming" promotional blitz featuring billboards, print and social media advertising.

The Simmons-centric ad campaign proved to be an apt choice because his individual achievements continue to be all that's keeping LSU basketball relevant this winter. The 6-foot-10 forward has awed viewers with his rare combination of size, skill and athleticism, but his team has somehow squandered his immense talent.

With Tuesday night's 85-65 rout at Arkansas coming on the heels of Saturday's 16-point loss at shorthanded Tennessee, LSU has gone from a precarious perch on the bubble to the fringes of the NCAA tournament hunt. The Tigers are now 16-12 with five sub-100 RPI losses and not nearly enough quality wins to offset them all.

LSU's remaining schedule includes home games against Missouri and Florida and a season-ending visit to first-place Kentucky. Three straight wins to end the regular season might get the Tigers back in the conversation, but realistically only a last-gasp run to the SEC tournament title will save them from the NIT now.

If LSU does not hear its name called on Selection Sunday, Simmons could become one of the few No. 1 draft picks to play college basketball but not reach the NCAA tournament during his career. The only other one since the NCAA tournament expanded to 64 teams three decades ago is Michael Olowokandi, whose Pacific teams did not earn a bid in the mid-1990s.

That Simmons is in this position is staggering considering the video game-like numbers he has racked up.

Simmons has averaged 19.4 points (second to Rice's Marcus Evans), 11.9 rebounds and 5.0 assists, more than enough to keep him in strong position to be taken No. 1 overall in next June's NBA draft. His jump shot remains a work in progress and his defensive effort can be sporadic, but he still has produced the best individual season from a freshman since Michael Beasley in 2008.

Beasley's Kansas State team barely slipped into the NCAA tournament as a No. 11 seed, but he didn't have quite as much talent around him as Simmons does. Antonio Blakeney is a five-star shooting guard who has blossomed during SEC play. Tim Quarterman is a potential NBA prospect because of his athleticism and versatility. Craig Victor is an Arizona transfer who scores and rebounds in the post and Keith Hornsby is a capable defender and lethal outside shooter.

Why hasn't that loaded roster translated into more consistent success? One reason is that LSU hasn't had its full arsenal available at all times.

Victor didn't become eligible until mid-December and Hornsby sat out the first seven games of the season while recovering from a sports hernia and aggravated the injury against Tennessee. Without Hornsby, it's too easy to defend LSU by clogging the driving lanes and daring the Tigers' other perimeter players to shoot.

Even when LSU did have its full complement of players available, its coaching staff has seldom managed to get the most out them.

Quarterman and Simmons are both at their best as playmakers, so they have been an awkward fit. In LSU's loss against Oklahoma last month, Quarterman initiated the offense and Simmons scarcely touched the ball the final 10 minutes of the game. In LSU's loss at Arkansas on Tuesday night, LSU put the ball in the hands of its most talented player, reducing Quarterman to the ill-fitting role of spot-up shooter.

The other season-long problem for LSU is that its defense has vacillated between mediocre and woeful depending on its effort level. The Tigers are 162nd in the country in points per possession surrendered, and it's hard to believe they're even that high the way they've defended the past two games.

A Tennessee team without leading scorer Kevin Punter lit up LSU for 81 points and shot 49.2 percent from the field. Arkansas scored just as easily three nights later, making the Tigers pay for slow close-outs on the perimeter, blown rotations in the paint and sluggish transition defense.

Simmons chose LSU because his godfather David Patrick is in his fourth season as an assistant coach for the Tigers. Simmons stuck with that commitment even though LSU underachieved the past two years with NBA prospects Jarrel Martin and Jordan Mickey on the roster, missing the 2014 NCAA tournament and narrowly sneaking into the field last season.

That loyalty won't hurt Simmons financially but it may keep him from playing on college basketball's grandest stage.

Unless LSU wins the SEC tournament, 25 will be coming to the NIT.
02-24-2016 02:22 AM
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GoodOwl Offline
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Post: #13
MyBB RE: LSU's Simmons and top Freshmen in Hoops this season
• Below is the list of the top freshmen scorers in the country this year (as of Feb. 23)

Name-School-PPG
1. Marcus Evans, Rice 20.5 ppg
2. Ben Simmons, LSU 19.5 ppg
3. Dikembe Dixson Illinois-Chicago 19.4 ppg
4. Jamal Murray, Kentucky 19.4 ppg
5. Matt Morgan, Cornell 19.1 ppg
(This post was last modified: 03-14-2016 08:18 PM by GoodOwl.)
02-24-2016 02:04 PM
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GoodOwl Offline
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Post: #14
MyBB RE: LSU's Simmons and top Freshmen in Hoops this season
Hangin' in there, but will have to beat #1 seed Texas A&M tomorrow, then another on Sunday or else it's NIT then NBA for Simmons.

[Image: Tennessee-70.png](12) Tennessee 75
[Image: LSU-70.png](4) LSU 84

Team 1 2
TENN 33 42
LSU 32 52


Blakeney scores 22, LSU beats Tennessee 84-75 at SEC tourney
By TERESA M. WALKER (AP Sports Writer)

LSU's Tim Quarterman (55) is fouled by Tennessee's Admiral Schofield (5) during the first half …

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Ben Simmons watched 15 minutes of the first half from the bench after picking up two quick fouls. His LSU teammates made sure the freshman star's early absence proved no problem at all.

Antonio Blakeney led five Tigers in double figures with 22 points, and No. 4 seed LSU beat 12th-seeded Tennessee 84-75 Friday in the Southeastern Conference Tournament quarterfinals.

''It's frustrating, but obviously it was for the best for the team for coach (Johnny Jones) to do that,'' Simmons said. ''It made sense to come in in the second half, and I didn't have to worry about getting that third foul because I was going to stay in.''

The Tigers likely need to win this tournament to give Simmons a chance to play in the NCAA Tournament. Now LSU (19-13) has won three of four, and the Tigers will play No. 17 Texas A&M, a 72-66 winner over Florida, in the semifinals Saturday.

''We have to play well,'' Jones said. ''If we do that, we'll be at 20 wins. As well, we finished in the top (four) in our league. We feel that we're in a very powerful league. We hope that stands for something, and it will certainly carry some weight. That's what we look forward to.''
03-11-2016 11:23 PM
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GoodOwl Offline
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Post: #15
MyBB RE: LSU's Simmons and top Freshmen in Hoops this season
• Below is the list of the top freshmen scorers in the country this year at season's end(as of Mar. 5).

Name School PPG
1. Marcus Evans, Rice 21.2 ppg
2. Jamal Murray, Kentucky 20.0 ppg
3. Dikembe Dixson, Illinois-Chicago 19.8 ppg
4. Ben Simmons, LSU 19.6 ppg
5. Matt Morgan, Campbell 18.9 ppg

For the big schools, the SEC is well-represented on this list. For the three smaller schools, their fans have a nice grouping to point to as their players keep good company. Congratulations to all of them on a great season!
(This post was last modified: 03-14-2016 08:20 PM by GoodOwl.)
03-11-2016 11:28 PM
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