LSU a Must Win for Florida?

February 24th, 2009

Tonight the Gators battle 18th ranked LSU Tigers at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. LSU enters the game conquerors of 8 straight and rests atop the conference at 11-1. The Tigers look like a lock for an at large NCAA bid, however at 21-6 (8-4 SEC) are the Gators on the bubble?

With a disappointing out of conference schedule Florida positioned themselves to the status of a bubble team. Their finest non-conference outing was an impressive 86-84 victory at Washington. The only other opponent worth mentioning in their out of conference schedule was Syracuse in a game they let go. Granted it was a close game and if Florida could have pulled it out it would have added a great deal of credibility, but close only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades, which doesn't alleviate their cause.

With games left at home against Kentucky, Tennessee, and on the road at Miss. St., LSU remains their best chance to secure an at large bid. Suffering defeat to LSU may well put them on the outside looking in and at the mercy of the selection committee come "Selection Sunday".

On the other hand what may be more intriguing is their last regular season game with rival Kentucky. The Wildcats are pretty much in a similar boat as the Gators with regards to SEC record and weak non conference resumes. The Wildcat's greatest non conference victory was when they toppled West Virginia and they already possess a triumph in the earlier matchup versus Florida.

At this point in the season LSU remains the only lock to attain an at large bid to the big dance. Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina are all jockeying for position to solidify their chances on "Selection Sunday". The SEC conference still presents interesting matchups and it should be entertaining to see how it all unfolds.

After tonight we'll have better directions to decipher the roadmap that lies ahead.