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Hoops Preview: Mississippi State vs USC Upstate

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The Bulldogs take on the feisty Spartans of USC Upstate this Saturday, at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson.

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Where to Listen: Sirius XM Channel 190

With just a few weeks left before SEC play begins, Coach Rick Ray has more questions than answers about his team. Mississippi State started the season hot, rushing out to a respectable 5-0 record, but three weeks and four losses later the Bulldog's record stands at 5-4. The loss to Arkansas State has to be the most disappointing of the four, as the Bulldogs came into the game undefeated at home and were twelve point favorites but were handled by the Red Wolves from the opening tip.

Now the team has to shake off the loss to Arkansas St and get ready to prepare for a dangerous USC-Upstate team. Just two weeks ago, the Spartans went into Atlanta and upset the 6-1 Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech. They then followed up that performance with a near upset of then #19 ranked Maryland. So this is a team that is not afraid to go blow for blow with the big boys and can not be taken lightly by the Bulldogs.

After a season of poor performances from the bench of Mississippi State, the reserves exploded last week for FORTY points in the losing effort. Roquez Johnson was the star performer, not only for the bench but for the whole team. He came out and scored 20 points on 8 of 11 shooting, more than all of the starters combined.

This will be a "home away from home" neutral site game for State as they travel to Jackson to play at the Mississippi Coliseum. Mississippi State 16-5 all time at the Coliseum and have won 12 in a row there. However, this year USC-Upstate has paid little mind to enemy crowds and expect no different from the Spartans today. This will be another close battle and the Bulldogs will have to get the ball in Roquez Johnson's hand if they want to come away with the win. When the game is coming to a close, check out the box score to see who is winning the rebounding battle. When Mississippi State out rebounds their opponent they are a perfect 5-0, when the opponent out rebounds MSU the Bulldogs are 0-4.

Eck's Pick: Mississippi State 68-67