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Texas A&M Got Much Needed Win over LSU

The Aggies needed this one and got it.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Texas A&M picked up a much needed win in topping LSU 68-62.

Despite the Aggies now being two games up on the Tigers in the SEC standings without even counting the season sweep, A&M did and still does need this win more than LSU. It helps to look at the teams' RPI profiles to tell why. The RPI is a terrible measure, but it matters this time of year because the selection committee still uses it.

First, let's look at LSU. The Tigers have one bad (Auburn) and two catastrophic (Mississippi State, Missouri) losses on the year, but they also have four wins against the RPI top 50: UMass, West Virginia, Georgia, and Ole Miss. Beating A&M would have added a fifth top 50 win, but losses to top 50 teams don't really count against you much. Those bad losses are why LSU is on the bubble, but those wins are why, even after last night's loss, they're still on the right side of it.

Now, let's take a peek at TAMU's profile. The Aggies don't have any losses to teams in the 101-150 or 150+ range, though No. 96 Kansas State is pretty close to it. That lack of bad losses is basically the entire argument for why A&M is in the bubble discussion at all because they also have a blank in top 50 wins. If No. 52 LSU finishes strong, then A&M will have a pair of top 50 wins, but that'll still likely be half of what LSU has.

The season sweep might help A&M's tournament argument vis-a-vis the Tigers, but head-to-head in basketball is less important than in football. The reason is because teams' overall bodies of work in basketball are much larger. LSU having more good wins, despite having more bad losses, might be enough to overcome TAMU's sweep.

Both teams have a single opportunity prior to the SEC tournament for top 50 wins, as each still has to play Arkansas. They both play on the road in Fayetteville, too. Neither of these teams is close to a lock to make the tournament, and it wasn't a good thing for LSU to have lost last night. It was a good thing, though, for the SEC's quest to get six teams into the Big Dance for the reasons laid out above.