LSU basketball starting to creep higher in NCAA tournament bracket projections _lowres

LSU forward Jordan Mickey (25) celebrates with guard Keith Hornsby (4) after scoring against Vanderbilt in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. LSU won in overtime, 79-75. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

After dropping to the high 50s in the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) a week ago, the LSU men’s basketball team has climbed about 20 spots on the strength of back-to-back road wins against Florida and Vanderbilt.

LSU, 15-4 overall and 4-2 in the Southeastern Conference going into Wednesday night’s home game against South Carolina, held down the 37th spot in both the NCAA and ESPN daily RPI rankings as of Monday morning.

The Tigers had dropped to the high 50s with a 67-64 loss to Texas A&M on Jan. 17, but move up after a 79-61 bashing of Florida on Tuesday night and a 79-75 overtime win over Vanderbilt on Saturday night.

LSU is 5-3 against teams in the top 100 of ESPN’s latest RPI rankings with two of the victories coming against top 25 teams -- at then-undefeated West Virginia, which is now 15th, and at home against Georgia, which is 24th.

LSU ranks fifth among SEC schools on both the NCAA and ESPN updates.

The Tigers are positioned behind Kentucky (second on both lists), Arkansas (23rd NCAA, 22nd ESPN), Georgia (25th NCAA, 24th ESPN) and Texas A&M (32nd NCAA, 35th ESPN).

ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has the Tigers penciled into his NCAA tournament bracket as the No. 9 seed in the East regional first-round games to be played in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Lunardi had LSU as an 11th seed following the loss to A&M, but moved the Tigers up to 10th after the victory at Florida.