Tigers on the rise: The LSU men’s basketball team—which claimed its second Southeastern Conference regular-season championship in four seasons Saturday with a 73-70 victory at Kentucky—has moved to the brink of the top 10. The Tigers (25-4 overall and 13-1 in the SEC) are ranked No. 11 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll and No. 12 in the Associated Press media poll. The polls were released this afternoon. LSU, which has won 10 consecutive games, concludes the regular season at home Wednesday against Vanderbilt (17-11, 6-8) and Saturday at Auburn (19-10, 8-6). Marcus Thornton, who helped lead LSU to victories over Florida and Kentucky, was named Player of the Week by ESPN.com and the SEC. Thornton, from Baton Rouge, averaged 27.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists as the Tigers wrapped up the SEC title with the two wins.
Staying in Tampa: Free-agent wide receiver Michael Clayton struck a deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. According to the Tampa Tribune, Clayton, a Baton Rouge native and former LSU star, signed a five-year contract that guarantees him $11 million. The deal could be as worth as much as $26 million if he meets certain performance bonuses.
Honor for right-hander: LSU sophomore right-hander Austin Ross has been named SEC Pitcher of the Week. Ross pitched six shutout innings Sunday in the Tigers’ 16-0 victory over Central Florida, allowing just two hits and striking out 10, a career best. Ross’ honor marks the second straight week an LSU player has received an SEC award. Second baseman Ryan Schimpf was named SEC Player of the Week on Feb. 23.
Taking the field early: The starting time of Wednesday’s LSU-Mississippi Valley State baseball game has been moved to 5 p.m., LSU officials announced today. The game was originally scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m., but was moved to 5 p.m. to ease the conflict with the LSU-Vanderbilt men’s basketball game that begins at 7 p.m. at the Maravich Center. The earlier start time will allow fans the opportunity to watch more of the baseball game before the men’s basketball game begins. Discounted tickets to the baseball game will be offered to fans with a men’s basketball ticket. Fans that present a men’s basketball ticket at Alex Box Stadium on Wednesday can may purchase adult tickets for $5 and children’s tickets for $3.