Outside of an off night at home and a collapse in Fayetteville, I think it's safe to say this years 15-3 basketball team has outdone expectations thus far this season. Sure expectations were somewhat high, at least amongst State fans, coming into the year and the team has a good deal of talent, but if I said I expected this team to be #15 at this point, I'd be lying. Nevertheless, State heads into the 3rd week of SEC play tonight as a ranked team starting a tough week of road games with a game in Oxford.
History as of late tells us this game should go in our favor easily, with State having won the last 5 straight in the series and with Stansbury's dominating 20-7 record vs. Ole Miss in his career. Add to that the dismissal of Ole Miss star Dundrecus Nelson, and you have what would seem a guaranteed victory for us.
But never discount 3 things as a State basketball fan: 1) an SEC road game, 2) Ole Miss having a RAP (random ass player) go off and score like 30 points, or 3) the Stansbury effect. Any of these 3 factors could derail State's streak in Oxford tonight, so let's hope we bring our A game to counter the potential for the Stansubry "let's-slow-it-down-and-blow-a-10-point-lead" strategy.
On the other side of things, Ole Miss is led by a trio of starters averaging 10 points in Sr. Terrance Henry, Jr. Murphy Holloway and Fr. Jarvis Summers. More info on the rebels and there 11-6 season to date can be found here.
With Arnett Moultrie becoming the constant in the equation that is State's offense, I look for one of the roll players on this team (Sidney, Hood, Bryant, Steele) to come up big tonight if State is going to pull out the W. Looking at the matchups at each position, I think tonight may be Hood's night to shine. His length gives a lot of teams problems and if his touch is on tonight, he should, along with Moultrie's expected 20 and 10, lead State to a victory.
Expectations: Sidney scores the first points, Sidney gets the first foul
Don't be surprised if: Stansbury gets a technical tonight. He has always been a fiery coach, but something about the rivalry seems to bring that extra UMPH out in him.
Players to watch: Rodney Hood (MSU), Jarvis Summers (Ole Miss)
Game score prediction: State 62, Ole Miss 54
Game Info: MSU vs. Ole Miss
8pm, Tad-Smith Coliseum
Also on ESPN3.com
Also make sure to check out our SBNation counterparts at Red Cup Rebellion for any news on the Ole Miss side of tonight's game or on Ole Miss sports in general.