Mississippi St. (#13, West, Portland pod)
vs. Washington (#4)
Mar. 19 @ 5pm
Vegas Line: Mississippi St. +5
Location: Starkville, Mississippi
Conference: SEC, automatic
Coach: Rick Stansbury, 231-127
08-09 Record: 23-12, 9-7
Last 12 Games: 7-5, 6-game win streak
Best Win: 67-57, #20 LSU, 3-14-09 or 64-61, Tennessee, 3-15-09
Worst Loss: 64-70, Charlotte, 12-10-08
Off. Efficiency Rating: 108.1; #74
Def. Efficiency Rating: 94.3; #59
Nuts n Bolts
Star Player(s): Jarvis Varnado, Junior center, 4.7 bpg – leads nation and more than 318 D1 teams and this year broke SEC single-season block record currently held by him and Shaquille O’Neal – 9.0rpg – 4th in SEC – 55.1% FG – 3rd in SEC – 13.1ppg, Reigning and likely two-time National Defender of the Year, SEC Tournament MVP, All-SEC First Team, SEC Defender of the Year
Unsung Hero: Dee Bost, Freshman point guard, 4.34 apg – 4th in SEC and 1st among SEC freshmen, 1.51 a/to – 7th in SEC and 1st among SEC freshmen – 1.46spg – 11th in SEC and 1st among SEC freshmen – 72.1% FT – 12th in SEC and 1st among SEC freshmen – 11.1ppg, SEC Freshman of the Year Runner-Up, Consensus All-SEC Freshman, Two-Time SEC Freshman of the Week
Potential NBA Draft Pick(s): none
Key Injuries: Elgin Bailey, ankle – out indefinitely
Depth: 25.2% of mins from bench, #296
Achilles Heel: Rebounding, #11 in SEC in rebounding margin
Will Make a Deep Run if…: Some threes will fall for MSU. State leads the SEC in 3-pointers made and ranks fourth in 3PT%. The team starts four guards and is very, very difficult to beat when the threes are falling
Will Make an Early Exit if…: The effort on the boards is below par. State was outrebounded 44-24 in an 81-57 raping at LSU earlier this season.
Last Year Invited: 2007-08, 2nd round 74-77 loss to #1 seed Memphis
Streak: 2 consecutive years
Best NCAA Finish: 1995-96, Final Four 69-77 loss to Syracuse
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present): RTC will provide
Six Degrees to Detroit: None
Distance to First Round Site: 2,519 miles
School’s Claim to Fame: Before Rick Stansbury: 3 NCAA’s, 4 NIT’s all-time. Under Rick Stansbury: 5 NCAA’s, 3 NIT’s. If you’re talking about MSU as a whole…MSU has won the prestigious Challenge X competition for engineering the past two years.
School Wishes It Could Forget: MSU hasn’t produced a successful high-round NBA pick in well over a decade despite losing players such as SEC Player of the Year Lawrence Roberts and infamous All-SECers Jamont Gordon and Charles Rhodes. If you’re looking for MSU as a whole, State is by far the poorest school in the Southeastern Conference.
Prediction: Mississippi State’s disgraceful 13 seed could be a blessing in disguise, as the Bulldogs don’t see a team higher than a four-seed in the first two rounds. State is hot at the moment and if the team continues to play with passion, the Bulldogs could be a darkhorse to reach the Sweet Sixteen.
Major RTC stories: n/a
Preview written by… (Kurt Wirth/SEC Hoops: The Good. The Bad. The Dirty)