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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Baby missed in big way

Well, well, well. Suddenly, it is apparent and obvious that the LSU basketball team is clearly better with Glen "Big Baby" Davis than without. As if it was really ever any other way.

Auburn, which has no regular player taller than 6-foot-7, attacked the Baby-less Tigers inside for an 80-68 victory Wednesday night in Auburn. LSU "center" Magnum Rolle, who "replaced" Davis in the lineup, had all of one rebound. Let me write that again. Magnum Rolle, a 6-foot-10 player whom LSU went all the way to the Bahamas to get, got one rebound in 21 minutes. I guess if Davis had played, he would have gotten all of no rebounds.

Josh Dollard, who is 6-7, scored 16 points with six rebounds for Auburn. Korvotney Barber, who is also 6-7, scored 14 points with eight rebounds. Combined, they hit 12-of-22 field goals.

Darnell Lazare, a 6-8 post player for LSU who has been consistently solid in a sea of inconsistent teammates other than Davis, scored eight points with eight rebounds. That was not enough.

No one can blame Davis for this loss. He didn't make the trip. Rolle and Lazare scored 17 points with nine rebounds combined. Davis is averaging 18 points and 10 rebounds a game. Yeah, LSU's better without him. Yeah, the lane has more room ... for average to bad players to get beat.

Suddenly, that big win over Florida without Davis does not have so much luster. The slumping Gators lost by 10 at Tennessee on Tuesday night, too. That's three losses in four games.

Perhaps LSU would have beat Florida by 15 or 20 had Davis played.

Finally, this nonsense will end Saturday. The nonsense being LSU's season and the Davis bashing. Davis should return to the lineup Saturday when the Tigers close the regular season at home against South Carolina.

Davis has not been the greatest leader this season. He may have let his celebrity hurt his team.

But elite players like him often come with such baggage. He's still the best player on the team, and LSU should be better if Davis' up-and-down supporting cast can get it together and play with the emotion and skill it showed when he was gone. That would mean a win Saturday and at least some interesting games in the SEC Tournament next week, if not a run.


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