COLUMBIA, S.C. — The LSU basketball team’s nonconference struggles, when the Tigers were without guard Keith Hornsby and forward Craig Victor, will be considered by the NCAA Division I men’s basketball committee when the group meets a month from now to select the 68-team NCAA tournament field.
Yet, Oklahoma Athletic Director Joe Castiglione, chair of the 10-person committee that includes LSU A.D. Joe Alleva, said Wednesday that the group won’t weigh one part of the schedule differently from another when it comes to handing out at-large bids.
LSU started the season 4-3 without Hornsby, who had sports hernia surgery in early November, and was 4-4 without Victor, who sat out the fall semester as a transfer from Arizona. Guard Jalyn Patterson also missed four games in December with a knee injury.
“As we’ve said in a variety of different ways, every game counts,” Castiglione said during a conference call with reporters after a two-day committee meeting in Indianapolis. “We know they are back healthy now, and as they complete the remainder of the season, their full profile will be evaluated.
“Then it will determined if they’re going to continue on to play in March.”
Since Hornsby returned from his injury and Victor joined the team, LSU is 11-5 and is tied for first place in the Southeastern Conference with an 8-3 record after Wednesday night’s 94-83 loss to South Carolina.
Castiglione, who was in attendance when LSU went toe-to-toe with his then-No. 1 Oklahoma team before the Tigers dropped a two-point decision in Baton Rouge on Jan. 30, said the committee was aware of the situation.
“There are overlaps there, and we know those two guys were out,” Castiglione said. “Those kinds of considerations will be discussed in the room. … We have all of that posted for our committee, so they keep that in mind during our deliberations.”
Alleva will have to leave the room whenever there is discussion about LSU, which was 15-8 overall and had an RPI of 75 before Wednesday night’s game, when the committee meets in New York in the second week of March.
The entire 68-team field and bracket will be unveiled March 13.