NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -
Over the last decade, LSU's been a national seed and hosted in the postseason more times than not (2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017). It's outstanding. And while it's time to stop living in the past (more on that in a moment), we can learn from the past. Let's look at how this years' Tigers with two series to go stack up against LSU teams of the past entering the last two weekends of the regular season.
Right now, they're 14-10 in the conference, on the edge of hosting a regional or hitting the road as two seed, and staring what feels like a do-or-die series against fourth-ranked Arkansas in the face. But it shouldn't surprise you that they've been in very similar situations before.
The 2016 Tigers are one of the closest comparisons. They were also 14-10 in the SEC at this point of the season, but they put their foot on the gas to finish the conference schedule 5-1 in the last two series. In fact, even the opponents were of similar stature. The end of the 2016 schedule featured a showdown with top-ranked Florida, much like this year's slate has them taking on Arkansas. As the story goes, they'd wind up hosting in the NCAA tournament as a national seed.
Let's take it back to 2014 now. This group had to scrap their way through the SEC gauntlet as well. Going into their last two series against 19th-ranked Alabama and Auburn, they were 13-10-1. The Tigers finished strong and went 4-1 through that final stretch. Once again, they were national seed and hosted to begin the tournament.
By the SEC numbers, they're familiar. The difference between those teams from 2014 and 2016 that were in national seed conversations and this year's is those previous squads performed much better outside of SEC play. Maybe midweek games do matter.
Still, the matter at hand is finishing strong and ACTUALLY doing it. We constantly hear, "as the weather gets hotter, so do the Tigers' bats." But it doesn't just happen. LSU's lineup, top to bottom, has to step up if they want to follow in the footsteps of the teams before them that gave the purple and gold the reputation of handling business in the month of May. And their pitching rotation, even as injured and as young as they are, has seen enough in the SEC now to know what's necessary to win in such a tough league. Living in the past and assuming there's a magic switch to turn on the last two weeks of the season won't get the job done.
So while this 2019 team may be too far gone to be a national seed, the fact is if they can get in gear enough to upset Arkansas and win their final series against Auburn, hosting a regional will be a strong possibility (a decent run in the SEC Tournament wouldn't hurt).
Check below for a more detailed look at their finishes year-by-year over the last 10 years.