Myron MedcalfESPN Staff WriterClose
- Covers college basketball
- Joined ESPN.com in 2011
- Graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato
BATON ROUGE, La. — With the SEC title on the line in a matchup against Vanderbilt on Saturday night, fans showered LSU athletic director Joe Alleva with loud boos and expletive-filled chants at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
With coach Will Wade suspended and standout Javonte Smart sidelined in connection with the FBI’s massive investigation of college basketball, fans screamed, “F— Alleva!” and “Joe Must Go!” as the athletic director walked to his seat for the 80-59 win that clinched the SEC title for the Tigers.
They harmonized with the band and made up songs to call for Alleva’s ouster, too. They turned a chant from the “Wizard of Oz” (oh-we-oh) into “A-LLE-VA AHHH-Leeva sucks!”
Wade was suspended indefinitely Friday after reportedly being heard on a wiretap discussing a “strong-ass offer” for a player, who is believed to be Smart, the freshman who was held out of Saturday’s game due to an “abundance of caution,” per the school.
Fans held up “Free Will Wade” signs and chanted, “Free Javonte!” throughout the game.
The chants changed to “L-S-U! L-S-U!” after the Tigers (26-5, 16-2) won the SEC regular-season title for the first time in over a decade.
As the players took turns cutting down the net after the game to celebrate, the loudest cheers by far were reserved for Smart.
“We’ve been through a lot this season,” assistant coach Tony Benford said. “This group has been very resilient throughout the whole year, through all our adversity we’re going through. Just really proud of the guys, total team effort tonight. Did it for Coach Wade, Javonte. We’re really proud of what we’ve accomplished this year. It’s been a real close group all year; we came out tonight, played together, and made plays without Naz [Reid, who is injured] and Javonte. Just really proud of the guys.”
Vanderbilt (9-22, 0-18) became the first team to go winless in the SEC since former league member Georgia Tech in 1954, and the first ever to do so with an 18-game conference schedule.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.