Eagle: LSU Is "As Good As Anybody In The Country"

LSU, even without Will Wade, is as dangerous as any team in the country, Ian Eagle says

March 26, 2019 - 9:05 am
Emmitt Williams LSU Maryland NCAA Tournament

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No. 3 LSU entered the NCAA Tournament engulfed in scandal and uncertainty, but it hasn’t shown through their first two games. The Tigers (28-6) beat No. 14 Yale 79-74 and No. 6 Maryland 69-67 to reach the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2006.

“LSU advances amidst all the controversy, this cloud that’s over the program right now following Will Wade, yet these kids were unaffected,” Westwood One and CBS play-by-play announcer Ian Eagle said on Ferrall on the Bench. “I was really impressed with how they played through the first two rounds, and they’re deep. They’re nine, 10 deep where they’re pretty comfortable. Their first eight is as good as anybody in the country. You go one through eight, I think they can compete with anybody.”

LSU hopes to compete with No. 2 Michigan State (30-6) on Friday. The Spartans have been one of the most consistent teams in the country this season. They’ve won 10 of 11, and five of their six losses have come by five points or fewer. Two came in overtime.

LSU, with four players averaging double figures, will need to play its best to advance to the Elite Eight. So far, that hasn’t been a problem under interim coach Tony Benford.

“Tony Benford clearly had a deep connection with these players to begin with,” Eagle said. “They followed him. He’s been the right voice, he’s got the right temperament, and I thought he handled himself with all the questions and all the arrows fired at him in a really classy manner over that three-day period in Jacksonville.”

No. 1 North Carolina (29-6), meanwhile, also hopes to win Friday. The Tar Heels, who have won 17 of their last 19 games, will face No. 5 Auburn (28-9) at 7:29 pm. ET. 

“They’ve got a presence about them, and I think they do feel disrespected,” Eagle said of the Tar Heels. “Despite beating Duke a couple of times, I don’t think they believe that they’re getting mentioned in the way that they feel like deserve to be mentioned at this stage.”