The Mississippi State Bulldogs have a chance to tie history today at The Hump when they try to claim their 14th straight victory at home. The Bulldogs have not lost at home since a 68-58 defeat against Akron on Nov. 9.
In order to tie the record for most consecutive wins at The Humphrey Coliseum, set from January 2003-January 2004, the Bulldogs (19-5, 6-3) will have to knock off a Georgia (11-12, 2-7) squad that has been a bit underwhelming this year. Last year's Georgia squad qualified as an at large ten seed in the NCAA tournament, but they lost many players to graduation and are in the middle of a youth movement.
Kentavius Caldwell-Pope serves as the face of that movement. The McDonald's All-American is playing as a 6' 5" guard, and he averages 14.2 points a game, which leads the team. The other freshman who has seen the most playing time this season is Nemanja Djurisic, and he pours in 6.9 per game from the from forward position.
On the other end of the age spectrum is senior guard Gerald Robinson. Robinson averages 14.1 points per contest, and he is one of the most accurate shooters on the squad, knocking down 43% of his attempts. Another guard to watch is Dustin Ware. The 5' 11" senior averages eight points and drops two dimes a game.
The key to this game for Mississippi State will be creating mismatches on offense and rebounding. Georgia is the worst rebounding team in the SEC, hauling in just 33 boards a game. Mississippi State manages to bring down just over 37 rebounds each contest. Without anyone who can truly matchup on Arnett Moultrie or Renardo Sidney, both forwards should have an opportunity at double digit rebounds against Georgia, one of the worst shooting teams in the conference. Georgia only shoots 39% from the field, and they average just below 62 points each game.
Georgia lacks a strong post presence to combat Moultrie, so look for them to use a rotation of big men and be liberal with the physical play. The size of the Mississippi State guards will also cause issues for Georgia, so don't be surprised to see Marcus Thorton covering Rodney Hood or Dee Bost from time to time, which will weaken the Georgia frontcourt further.
If you want more from the Georgia perspective, I caught up with Seth Emerson, the Georgia beat writer for the Macon Telegraph. You can catch that interview in the On Demand section of your Bulldog Sports Radio app.
If you are going to the game, remember it is True Maroon. Tipoff is set for 12:30.