Mississippi State is returning to the Hump after going coast to coast with wins over DePaul in Tampa and UCLA in Anaheim. The Bulldogs have won their last 4 to go to 7-2 on the season.
Wright State comes in at 6-3, and won 3 consecutive before dropping their last game to Miami-Ohio, a close loss by 1 point. They are averaging 69.2 ppg this season and allowing 63.3 to opponents. Their top scorer is Todd Brown, with about 15 points. He also shots 45.9% from beyond the arc. Other players that make an impact are Troy Tabler (12.1), Cory Copperwood (10.3) and Vaughn Duggins, who has only played in six games but is netting 14.2 ppg.
I really think Mississippi State has the upper hand here. Varnado will dominate the interior as usual. Ravern Johnson is coming off his career best game against UCLA. Bost, Augustus and Stewart are all above 10 ppg so far on the season. The Bulldogs offensively are generating 75.8 ppg and limiting opponents to 58.4 ppg on 37% efficiency.
We may also get our first glimpse of John Reik tonight. Reik stands at 7-foot-2 and weighs in around 240. He will bring some much needed strength to the Bulldog squad that has been a little lean over the past few seasons.
Here are some other previews of this game from around the interwebs:
The Clarion-Ledger says that Wright State poses a threat.
"They're one of the better teams we've played all season," MSU coach Rick Stansbury said. "They're experienced; they have nine seniors and juniors. They've lost three games by a total of eight points, and two of them were without their best player."
The Dayton Daily News, on the other hand, says that Mississippi State will be a challenge for the Raiders.
It appears that against Mississippi State, the Raiders will have to go to their high-end scoring. Mississippi State, which has been ranked as high as No. 18, has five players who average in double figures and is on a four-game winning streak, including a 72-54 trouncing at UCLA.
The Springfield News Sun says that the Raiders need to get some consistency among its scorers.
Unless WSU can slow down the game, look for a higher score than usual. The Bulldogs are averaging 75.8 per game, while WSU is averaging 69.2. In coach Brad Brownell's three-plus seasons, the Raiders are 21-3 when they score 70 or more points, and 8-20 with the opposition does.
This game will be televised by ESPN2 and tip-off is scheduled for 6pm.