Exciting season on tap for NSU, LSU basketball

EDW finishes second
November 13, 2012
LSU men ready to begin Johnny Jones era
November 13, 2012

The LSU football team has two losses and will not win the SEC title, nor the BCS National Championship – a real bummer, but a reality nonetheless.

Likewise, the Saints are a long shot (at best) to even make the playoffs in the NFL season, much less push toward a Super Bowl run.

I think it’s safe to say that we should punt on the 2012-13 football season and head toward basketball, eh?

After all, basketball is the best sport in the world anyway, right?

I will now cover my head and shade my body to avoid the sharp objects being thrown at me by the football greedy masses – the vast majority of the population in Louisiana.

Jokes aside, this figures to be an awfully exciting basketball season locally – one that could easily be one of the best in recent memory.

Both the LSU and Nicholls men’s and women’s teams have promise and could make legitimate waves in the Southeastern Southland conferences, respectively.

That means a lot of exciting nights for this guy right here.

For that, consider me excited.

Start in Baton Rouge with the LSU men.

The Tigers will be playing their first season with new coach Johnny Jones and already this alum is tickled with the Jones Era in Baton Rouge.

The first reason for the excitement is because of tempo. Gone are the Trent Johnson days of trying to win games 55-50.

Seriously, how boring was that? Even when the team won (a rarity in Johnson’s tenure), something still didn’t feel right.

With Jones, the Tigers will play a more up-tempo style and will produce a product that is friendlier on the eyes – something that will draw butts back into seats at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

Because of the transition, LSU will struggle and there is pretty much no way that the Tigers will compete for anything significant in the coming season.

Regardless, Jones has given a jolt of life into the program and recruiting numbers prove it.

The Tigers already have one five-star prospect committed in its 2013 recruiting class. They also have two four-star players and a pair of three-star players on board.

This one class alone has amassed more “name players” than Johnson acquired in his entire LSU career.

When one throws those players into a roster already glittered with experienced players, success usually follows.

The future is bright in Baton Rouge and I will be the first person to admit that I am sipping the Kool-Aid and am hopping aboard the Jones bandwagon.

Staying with the men, Nicholls’ boy ballers are also poised to make a run.

The Colonels will return basically their entire team from last season, a hungry bunch of freshmen and sophomores that advanced to the Southland Conference Tournament.

But this season, the Colonels will return their thumper – senior forward Fred Hunter.

Hunter was a stalwart contributor for the Colonels for the first three seasons of his career.

An undersized forward, Hunter possessed the motor and frame to muscle in the paint for rebounds, while also having the touch and skills to make passes and handle the basketball.

The Colonels’ senior missed the past season and a half with a torn ACL – a blow that seriously hurt the team’s ability to push for the Southland Conference title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

But with Hunter back on the floor and returnees like Dantrell Thomas, Sam McBeath and Shane Rillieux on board, there’s no reason why the Colonels can’t make waves in the conference.

Sure, Oral Roberts is an annual power. But in that conference tournament, all it takes is 40 minutes to end someone’s season.

It truly is one of the most exciting weekends of the season in all of college basketball.

While the LSU and Nicholls men search for progression, the Lady Tigers and Colonels will hope to build on successful 2011-12 seasons.

To do so, they both will have to replace their best players from their past seasons.

The LSU women advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season in coach Nikki Caldwell’s first season in Baton Rouge.

Talent surrounds the Lady Tigers’ roster, including former Vandebilt standout Theresa Plaisance, who is in line to receive a lot of playing time in her junior season.

But LSU will not have All-Everything forward LaSondra Barrett on its roster, and that will obviously affect a lot of the team’s strategy in the new season.

Caldwell is a bright basketball mind, and she will figure it out in time for the Lady Tigers to make the NCAA Tournament.

With just one senior on the current roster, look out. LSU should make a move to return to national prominence in the future.

While LSU tries to keep its program stable, the Colonels are on the way up.

Last season, the Nicholls women won its first-ever Southland Conference Tournament game – drumming No. 1-seed Central Arkansas.

A lion’s share of that magical team returns this season, but Nicholls will be without Sumar Leslie, who graduated and took her game to the pros.

They will also be without Jasmine Hoskins, who was the “team’s most consistent post presence” last season.

The words in quotes aren’t my own. They belong to Colonels’ coach DoBee Plaisance. She uttered them last season.

Regardless of the departures, Nicholls returns standouts like KK Babin, Alisha Allen and my sleeper to win First-Team All-Conference LiAnn McCarthy.

Add that to a solid recruiting class and you have a recipe for a winner.

Plaisance knows what she’s doing in Thibodaux. The results speak for themselves – the Colonels have incrementally added victories in each season of her tenure.

I suspect a similar upward trend could remain in place this season.

So there you have it – basketball is back and it’s on the incline locally.

I know football is the king, but go check out the Colonels or Tigers sometime this season.

Louisiana loves a winner.

All four teams have the ability to do just that in the new season.