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Ugly end to Ben Simmons' NCAA tournament quest as LSU thrashed by Texas A&M

It was ugly, embarrassing and not the way Ben Simmons wanted to end his US college stint.

Louisiana State University was thrashed 71-38 by Texas A&M on Saturday in the Southeastern Conference semi-final and the loss might hurt the Australian 19-year-old's chances of being the top pick in June's NBA Draft.

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The team's 38 points was the lowest by any of the 351 Division I men's teams in the 2015/16 season.

"It's embarrassing and humiliating," ESPN's veteran analyst Dick Vitale told viewers of LSU's performance.

Simmons, who has averaged 19 points a game, had 10 points and 12 rebounds - his 23rd double-double of the year - in the loss to Texas A&M.

He received little help from his teammates, with no other player scoring more than six points and the team allowing the Texas team to go on a 24-1 run in the game.

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Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy said he felt for Simmons.

"That kid has had so much pressure on him from the beginning," Kennedy said.

"I felt sorry for him because nobody can live up to what he's been lifted up for.

"I mean, he's 19 years old."

LSU went into the must-win game in Nashville desperate to keep their season alive and possibly sneak into next week's elite NCAA tournament.

Instead, LSU extinguished any hope of making the competition.

"Very disappointing for us to have a bad shooting day," LSU coach Johnny Jones said.

With Simmons not part of the month-long NCAA tournament that is prime-time TV viewing for Americans, he runs the risk of other NBA-bound players like Duke's outstanding small forward Brandon Ingram leapfrogging him to become the No.1 pick in the NBA Draft.

The last player to go No.1 in the draft and be on a college team that failed to make the NCAA Tournament was forward/centre Mychal Thompson, who was selected first by the Portland Trail Blazers in 1978.

Simmons remains the favourite to be the projected top pick, but some analysts already have Ingram ahead of the Australian.

If Duke goes deep in the tournament and Ingram is a star, it could hurt Simmons who might finish his college season playing in the second tier National Invitation Tournament at New York's Madison Square Garden later this month.

What NBA teams see in Simmons is a 208cm tall, skilled and gifted teenager who has been compared to Magic Johnson and LeBron James and has the potential to be the sport's next superstar.

Simmons' NBA future, whether he goes one or two, remains bright.

He will likely end up at the Philadelphia 76ers under former Australian Olympic coach Brett Brown, who coached his father Dave Simmons at the NBL's Melbourne Tigers in the 1990s, or with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Before Simmons dribbles a ball on an NBA court he is also expected to sign a $US100 million ($A134.26 million)-plus shoe contract with Nike or another sporting goods giant.

AAP

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