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Rabalais: Saints’ schedule looks better than last year’s, but the start of the season looks mighty tough

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- Saints coach Sean Payton

The Pelicans are in the midst of a playoff series against the NBA’s top team, Golden State. LSU and Tulane played in baseball Tuesday night, the prelude to a huge No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown this weekend between the Tigers and Texas A&M. The PGA Tour is swinging through south Louisiana this week with the Zurich Classic… Continue reading →

Rabalais: The Masters is still Jordan Spieth’s to lose, but some Sunday drama may be coming our way

Jordan Spieth hits out of the gallery on the 18th hole during the third round of the Masters golf tournament Saturday, April 11, 2015, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Beauty, tradition and drama. They’re the holy trinity of Masters week. On the final day of worship at Augusta National Golf Club, it looks like we’re going to get all three after all. Jordan Spieth’s lead bounced from huge to enormous Saturday. A birdie on the par-3 16th put him to 18-under-par… Continue reading →

Jack Nicklaus makes hole-in-one; Streelman wins Par-3 contest

Billy Payne, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, applauds during a media conference before the Masters golf tournament Wednesday, April 10, 2013, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

AUGUSTA, GA. — Jack Nicklaus called his shot. During an ESPN interview Wednesday morning, the six-time Masters winner joked that if he won the Par-3 contest maybe he would be allowed to play in the big tournament again. “But maybe a hole-in-one, how’s that?” Nicklaus asked ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt. “We’ll try to get one for you.” On the… Continue reading →

LSU baseball concession stand prices soar above other sports venues, including Augusta National Golf Club

Spectators wait at the 16th hole for golfers to play through during the second round of the Masters golf tournament Friday, April 10, 2015, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

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AUGUSTA, GA. – When it comes to getting a ticket to an LSU baseball game compared to a Masters badge, there’s no comparison. Tickets online for Saturday’s LSU-Auburn game could be had for $10-12 from LSU. For a Masters ticket you had to go online and pay around $750 for Saturday only. The only way for… Continue reading →

Keegan Bradley heads list of latest additions to Zurich Classic field

Keegan Bradley watches his tee shot on the 11th hole during the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, March 19, 2015.(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Three players with victories in golf’s majors are among the latest commitments to the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Fore!Kids CEO Steve Worthy announced Tuesday the addition of Keegan Bradley, Vijay Singh and Retief Goosen to the field for the April 23-26 event to be played at TPC Louisiana. Also committing to the $6.9 million PGA… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Time for new SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey to do something about transfers involved in domestic violence cases

New SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey speaks before an NCAA college basketball game in the quarter final round of the Southeastern Conference tournament, Friday, March 13, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. Sankey replaces the retiring Mike Slive as commissioner of the Southeastern Conference.  (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

New SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey no doubt will have a lot of pressing items on his agenda when he takes over Aug. 1. Here’s an issue that should be near the top: creating a conference rule as it regards the transfers of student-athletes involved in domestic violence cases. The case of former Georgia and now former Alabama football player… Continue reading →

Rabalais: His resilience on display, Anthony Jennings won’t give up LSU’s starting quarterback job without a fight

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Quarterback Anthony Jennings

It’s long been the assumption at LSU regarding the quarterback candidacy of one Brandon Harris that it’s only a matter of time. He will eventually burst through the dreaded “potential” barrier and cast Anthony Jennings aside like a deflated New England football. What if it never happens, though? What if Harris turns out to be a paper cowboy,… Continue reading →

Rabalais: The not-so-hidden secret to LSU women's sports teams having massive success this year is . . .

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- LSU celebrates with teammate Bianka Bell (27) at home plate after Bell's home run in the third inning against Stephen F. Austin during LSU's Purple and Gold Challenge, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015, at LSU's Tiger Park in Baton Rouge, La. Bell's home run tied the career home run mark.

“Tigers, not daughters …” — William Shakespeare, King Lear A winter of discontent on the LSU football field has been followed by an LSU spring with successful teams blooming everywhere. And LSU’s women’s programs are leading the charge. The LSU softball team, 28-1 after beating Nicholls State 6-1… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Why LSU made the NCAA tournament with room to spare

LSU coach Johnny Jones celebrates the Tigers' selection to the NCAA men's basketball tournament Sunday, March 15, 2015.

LSU’s upset loss to Auburn in the Southeastern Conference tournament Friday begat 48 hours of hand wringing and rampant speculation, bracketology dissection and bubble watching, and probably in at least one corner, an exorcism for the Tigers’ free-throw shooting. As the hours ticked away until the 5 p.m. NCAA selection show, LSU guard Josh Gray had to… Continue reading →

Rabalais:LSU's Jalen Mills excited to lead the secondary; Mom's influence helped make it happen

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU safety Jalen Mills (28) moves in to bring Arkansas wide receiver Jared Cornelius (1) down after the completion during the first half Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014 in Fayetteville, Ark.

LSU’s reputation as “DBU” is something Tigers senior safety Jalen Mills takes quite seriously. “For me, it’s about having high expectations for myself,” Mills said this week. “We put a target on ourselves calling ourselves ‘DBU.’ Whether you feel like it or not, we have to come in every day and give 110 percent.” Mills returned… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Lady Tigers have earned their likely spot in NCAA field

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS --LSU's Danielle Ballard gets a defensive rebound in the second half of LSU's  80-63 win over Texas A&M Sunday in the LSU Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — In his latest NCAA women’s tournament projections Sunday morning, ESPN analyst Charlie Crème looked into his crystal basketball and put the LSU Lady Tigers on the No. 10 seed line, playing Rutgers in the Greensboro regional in Tallahassee, Florida. LSU and Rutgers played back on Nov. 22, with Rutgers winning 64-57… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Tigers starting to look dangerous at the right time

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- LSU's Jordan Mickey dunks over Ole Miss guard Stefan Moody in the second half Saturday at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

Moment by moment, possession by possession, by each rebound and dunk and block and steal, the LSU Tigers may finally be evolving into the basketball team we all thought it could be. The latest evidence: Saturday’s 73-63 over Ole Miss. For just the second time this season the Tigers are proud owners of a three-game Southeastern Conference… Continue reading →

Rabalais: LSU gambled and lost — but you can also blame the NCAA and another mindless rule

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- LSU coach Les Miles gestures to an official during a review during the Alabama game Nov. 8.

A couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate to be in Indianapolis for an NCAA men’s basketball tournament mock selection exercise. It was a highly organized, informative, exceptionally professional event. It was the NCAA at its big-time best. Thursday, we were witness once again to the NCAA at its bureaucratic worst. LSU’s football program was… Continue reading →

Rabalais: It’s cold outside, but Lady Tigers are riding a hot streak

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- LSU head coach Beth Torina coaches against Memphis, Friday, Feb. 6, 2015, at LSU's Tiger Park in Baton Rouge, La.

The weather at Tiger Park on Tuesday was chilling. The home team couldn’t be hotter. The LSU softball team returned from the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in posh Palm Springs, California, over the weekend with another sack full of victories, five of them, pushing their record to16-0. It’s the best start in school history. LSU’s ranking… Continue reading →

Rabalais: With PMAC packed, Tigers put on show

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- Rheagan Courville celebrates her performance on the uneven bars against Florida in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center Friday, Feb. 20, 2015.

There was a time when it took Shaquille O’Neal and his larger-than-life, rim-rattling theatrics to fill the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Friday night, the PMAC was filled again, fans drawn to the theatrics of a bunch of perfectly manicured young women vaulting and spinning and tumbling to the choreography of a cutting-edge soundtrack worthy of a Vegas… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Why a sellout crowd, heroic effort wasn't enough for LSU to shock Kentucky

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS --Kentucky head coach John Calipari talks to his players on the bench in the first half of LSU's 69-71 loss to  #1 Kentucky Tuesday night in the LSU Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

The crawfish in the second row of the LSU student section was boiling, like the rest of the Deaf Dome. Looking like they were outclassed and outgunned down 13 points with just under 13 minutes left, the LSU Tigers mounted a furious 16-0 rally from 60-50 down to 66-60 up on No. 1 Kentucky with 7:29… Continue reading →

Rabalais: In a pivotal year for Les Miles, LSU needs these recruits to pan out

Advocate file photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU coach Les Miles answers questions about new defensive coordinator Kevin Steele and new defensive line coach Ed Orgeron last month. Miles and his staff finalized a signing class of 25 players Wednesday.

Recruiting is referred to as an inexact science. It’s a statement that does injustice to inexact sciences, like meteorology or coming up with a flu vaccine that actually works (excuse me while I reach for another tissue). Yet every year, fans and us media types sift through the college football classes on… Continue reading →

Rabalais: LSU baseball team tries again to climb College World Series mountain

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- From left, LSU hitting coach Andy Cannizaro, head coach Paul Mainieri, and volunteer assistant coach Will Davis observe bunting practice Friday at Alex Box Stadium.

If you play or coach baseball at LSU, the expectations never relent. It’s there from the moment you arrive at Alex Box Stadium for batting practice or a game and see the six national championship flags snapping in the breeze. Or the faces of LSU All-Americans, staring expectantly from plaques on the iron and brick fence ringing the… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Benson saga hard not to watch

New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson walks with his wife Gayle Benson, left, and granddaughter Rita LeBlanc before an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Bill Haber) ORG XMIT: NYOTK

The lawsuits are flying, the attorneys are massing on the border and people are choosing sides for what promises to be The Battle of New Orleans II, an uncivil war between Bensons and LeBlancs for control of Louisiana’s major professional sports empire. In the middle, like children caught in the eye of a rancorous divorce, are… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Marathon’s Danny Bourgeois aims to help Louisiana take that first step

Advocate staff photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNON -- Runners make it to mile 16 at the intersection of Jefferson Highway and Claycut Road during the third annual Louisiana Marathon in January 2014.

Danny Bourgeois is convinced there’s a healthier Louisiana out there, lurking under our deep-fried, crunchy exterior. “With this sedentary lifestyle, where sitting has become the new smoking, we’ve all put on a little weight,” said Bourgeois, marketing director and one of the co-founders of the Louisiana Marathon festival, which takes over Baton Rouge’s streets and public spaces… Continue reading →

Rabalais: LSU football staff could be recruiting ‘dream team’ in the making

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- From left,  LSU defensive coordinator Kevin Steele, head coach Les Miles and defensive line coach Ed Orgeron stand together during a news conference Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015 at LSU in Baton Rouge.

Kevin Steele and Ed Orgeron were announced as LSU’s new coaches Wednesday, Steele as defensive coordinator, Orgeron as defensive line coach. Their reputation as recruiters borders on legendary, especially Orgeron, the gregarious, high-energy son of south Louisiana, who finally gets to fulfill a longtime career ambition by coaching at LSU. Combine them with established LSU coaches… Continue reading →