Vanderbilt Commodores vs. Louisiana State Tigers Pick & Prediction MARCH 2nd 2024

The margin of error is very thin for LSU with a week to go before the Southeastern Conference tournament, just like its recent margin of victories.

Still trying to climb in the NET rankings and SEC standings, LSU begins its critical three-game stretch to end the regular season Saturday afternoon when it visits Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn.

The Tigers (15-13, 7-8 SEC) are 3-1 in their past four games but still own a NET ranking of 89. Other than winning the SEC tournament, LSU must win its next three games against Vanderbilt, Arkansas and Missouri and likely at least one game in the conference tournament.

LSU is trying to play catch up in the final week because it endured a 1-6 skid from Jan. 20-Feb. 13 that included two losses to Alabama and another setback to Tennessee. The Tigers have since earned one-point wins over South Carolina, Kentucky and Georgia.

The most recent instance occurred at home in a 67-66 win over the Bulldogs on Tuesday. Will Baker sank two free throws with 15 seconds left and the Tigers got a pair of defensive stops on the final possession to help them bounce back from a 20-point loss to Mississippi State last week.

“We are learning and figuring out how to win,” LSU guard Jordan Wright said after scoring 17 points.

“I think that is the biggest thing with this team, coming off of the season last year and the games that we have been in earlier in the year, we are figuring out the toughness and togetherness that we need to have to finish these close games.”

Vanderbilt (8-20, 3-12) is coming off its best showing in league play when it earned an 85-82 win at Arkansas on Tuesday.

Against the Razorbacks, Vanderbilt set a season high for points and shot a season-best 50.9 percent by scoring 44 points in the paint to compensate for a 4-of-16 showing from behind the arc.

Leading scorer Ezra Manjon scored 22 points, Tyrin Lawrence added 21 and Ven-Allen Lubin finished with 19, including a crucial basket in the final minute.

“We were playing great and went up big in the second half and then they kind of started making threes and their crowd got into it and it got pretty tough,” Manjon said. “But it was just a matter of our older guys weathering the storm. That’s what you’ve got to do to get a road win in the SEC.”

–Field Level Media

Docsports, The most trusted name in sports handicapping