LSU's NCAA hopes alive and well

LSU's NCAA hopes alive and well

Don’t look now, but Ben Simmons may get a chance to put on his dancing shoes after all.

LSU and its much-ballyhooed freshman continue a thoroughly unexpected SEC tournament run with today’s 1 p.m. ET matchup against Texas A&M. Online sports book BetDSI's oddsmakers are feeling the added Bayou flavor, too, with the higher-seeded Aggies having dropped to 6.5-point favorites after opening at -7.5.

One week ago, the Tigers seemed positively earmarked for the NIT. They lost four of five games down the stretch and raised eyebrows for (briefly) benchig the presumptive No. 1 pick in June's NBA draft during a duel against Tennessee.

But hope suddenly floats for Johnny Jones’ program, which claims responsibility for the Aggies’ most recent loss. Simmonds amassed 16 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and three steals in that Feb. 13 showcase. He’ll undoubtedly need another box-score bonanza to keep 19-13 LSU in the hearts and minds of NCAA voters.

Hornsby's hernia still handicaps Tigers

Meanwhile, Texas A&M (25-7) aims to shake off the rust that muddied Friday evening’s 72-66 decision over Florida. Leading scorers Danuel House and Jalen Jones must therefore prioritize an inside-out approach. They combined to miss 24 shots in the quarterfinals, contributing to the Aggies’ woeful percentage of 39.4 overall.

Ultimately, Billy Kennedy’s squad specializes in several different areas. If Simmons and fellow frosh Antonio Blakeney (22.2 points per game over his last six) aren’t going bananas, though, the Tigers can’t hang.

SATURDAY NCAA FREE PICK: TEXAS A&M -6.5

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