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MSU vs. UK | Super Tuesday Open Thread

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Can State harness the power of the #HailState hashtag? It's 1-0 in its young career. (pic courtesy blog friend <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/blakemccollum" target="new">Blake McCollum</a>
Can State harness the power of the #HailState hashtag? It's 1-0 in its young career. (pic courtesy blog friend Blake McCollum

Welcome to the For Whom the Cowbell Tolls for the Mississippi State vs. Kentucky matchup tonight at the Humphrey Coliseum. Here's the essential info for tonight's game

MISSISSIPPI STATE (19-8, 6-6) vs. No. 1 Kentucky (26-1, 12-0)

Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012 8 p.m.
Humphrey Coliseum (10,500)
TV: ESPN (Jimmy Dykes, Brad Nessler, Shannon Spakes)
Series: Kentucky leads, 87-20
Last Year: (UK, 85-79)
Sirius/XM Radio: 91
Game Notes: MSU | UK

State will have to play a near perfect game tonight in order to have a chance against the cats. Kentucky is led by Freshman tandem Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Anthony Davis. The cats are long at every position, and defend well both on the perimeter and low block. Anthony Davis is the next Jarvis Varnardo shot-blocking wise, with an offensive game far advanced beyond many big men in the NCAA these days. With all the chips seemingly stacked against State tonight however, there's always a reason they go out and play the game. And especially in this series, who knows what may happen.

Here are a few keys for State to have a chance tonight:
  • State will have to get solid minutes out of Wendell Lewis and Renardo Sidney. Arnett Moultrie and Anthony Davis will be banging in the low block most of the night, which will tire both men down. The key will be to get the most we can out of Wendell and Renardo, with hopefully one or both of them chipping in for double digits.
  • State is going to have to play better pick and roll defense tonight. So far this year they've had issues switching back off a ball screen and it has killed them time after time. This goes back to the first bullet point: State will need good minutes from all of the big men to stay fresh in defending that pick and roll all night.
  • One of the roll players is going to have to step up. You expect Arnett and Dee Bost to get their 15 points a piece, and you expect Rodney Hood to have double digits, but in order to beat a team on caliber level of Kentucky, one of the other guys is going to have to step up. Whether it's Renardo, Jalen Steele, Shaun Smith, or Brian Bryant, State needs one of these guys to step up and have the game of the year if we are going to have a chance.
  • I think it's important for State to come out and get a lead. So often times in these big games we play with the opponent but never can overtake them, and it seems we play chase the entire game. If State is to have a chance tonight, I think they need to come out and get on top early to get the crowd in it and so that they can play with more confidence. Kentucky is not a team you want to try to dig yourself out of a 10 point hole against, they play too good of defense to allow it.
  • Here's some links to check out as well before the game tips here in a few minutes:

    • Here's our Q&A with A Sea of Blue on tonight's matchup
    • Here's the Q&A we did with them to preview tonight's game
    • Brandon Marcello tells us forget the rest: tonight's Mississippi State vs. Kentucky matchup is just Cats vs. Dogs.
    • We want you all to cheer your butts of for this team tonight, and we wrote A Call to Arms to try to motivate you