Mississippi State opens its NIT play tonight with a home game against in-state foe Jackson State. The NIT has some potentially good games that could come out of it, including a possible first visit to the Hump by North Carolina. But lets not get ahead of ourselves.
Let's take a brief look at tonights matchup.
Jackson State (19-12) started the season with a 1-12 record before winning 11 of their final 12 games and the regular season SWAC title. The Tigers were defeated by Grambling in the first round of the SWAC championship and come in to round one of the NIT as a 21-point underdog to Mississippi State.
Their playmakers include Garrison Johnson, who was named the SWAC Player Of The Year. He topped the league in scoring with 17.3 points per game, helping his team to a 17-1 conference record. Johnson also ranked 4th in 3-pointers made (63) and 8th in 3-point percentage (34.8).
Forward Tyrone Hanson was named newcomer of the year for his efforts, averaging 11.5 points and 4.7 rebounds.
Coach Tevester Anderson was named SWAC Coach Of The Year.
As a team, JSU scores 63.3 points per game on a 39.6 shooting percentage. They also hit 64% of their free throws.
The biggest challenge for the Bulldogs may not be the opponent, but being able to pick themselves up from the gut wrenching defeat that occured just over 48 hours ago in Nashville. The team was also pretty beat up after the SEC Tournament and took Monday off to rest.
The game tips off at 9pm, in Starkville at The Hump and will be televised on ESPNU.