"Probably at the top," Bianco finally said. "Isn't that where everybody votes them?"
It's where most SEC coaches voted LSU this season, but the No. 17-ranked Tigers have gotten off to a 1-5 start in conference play.
Three of those losses were to then-No. 1 Florida. The perception of LSU baseball hasn't changed in the minds of Ole Miss players as the Rebels and Tigers open their three-game set tonight at 7.
The series resumes at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at 1p.m.
Ole Miss (18-8, 3-3 SEC) is coming off an emotional 4-3 10-inning loss at Southern Mississippi Wednesday. The Rebels picked up their first SEC series victory last weekend at Tennessee.
LSU (17-7, 1-5) won the first game but was then swept in a doubleheader and lost the series at Georgia last week.
Ole Miss players don't believe the Tigers' slow start makes them ripe for picking.
"I think they come out guns blazing. I don't think they're vulnerable at all. It's LSU. They've been one of the top programs for as along as I can remember," Ole Miss outfielder Matt Smith said.
LSU defeated McNeese State 6-0 Wednesday evening.
The Tigers are third in the league in batting with a .308 average, ninth in pitching with a 3.77 earned run average.
Bianco, a former LSU player and assistant coach, attributes to the Tigers' slow SEC start to the rigors of league play.
"Our league ... that's why it's the No. 1 baseball conference in the country. It can humble you quickly. They played the No. 1 team in the country and lost three games. That could happen to anybody," he said.
The Tigers may have gotten off to a slow start, but it's not because of their Friday night pitching. Tonight's game will match two of the SEC's most successful starters, Ole Miss left-hander Matt Crouse and LSU freshman left-hander Kurt McCune.
Both are unbeaten. Crouse is No. 2 in the SEC in ERA at 1.27, McCune No. 5 at 1.56.
LSU coach Paul Mainieri says his team hasn't lost its belief in itself despite its SEC struggles.
The Tigers also haven't lost their memory. LSU players recall being swept in Oxford last year, losing three times by a total of four runs.
The Ole Miss weekend was the beginning of a stretch in which the Tigers lost 13 of 15 games, a fact that had them on the road in the regional round of the NCAA tournament where LSU was eliminated by UC Irvine.
"That was the start of our slide last year, and it's still fresh in our minds," said LSU outfielder Mikie Mahtook, who shares the SEC lead with 32 runs scored. "We played well and they just beat us in the end in a couple of games. They come to our place this year and we're going to be focused and ready to go."
Contact Parrish Alford at 678-1600