Mississippi State @ Tulane: 1 PM CST, ESPN3
After a disappointing performance against TCU, Coach Rick Ray hopes to guide the Bulldogs to a victory against State's most played non-conference opponent, Tulane, in a former SEC matchup. A win against the Green Wave would snap a 17 game road losing streak dating back to January 2013, a State victory over Georgia in Athens.
In their last outing the Bulldogs just couldn't find their shot against the Horned Frogs, shooting for a season low in field goal and free throw percentages. State will also look to get back to dominating the paint where they were out rebounded for the first time this season (37-33) against TCU. If Mississippi State is going to win games consistently they have to out rebound their opponent, it also wouldn't hurt to get more production from the bench who scored only nine points compared to the thirty four contributed by TCU's bench.
After starting the season on a clinic, Senior Roquez Johnson scored only 5 points in the win against St. Louis and just 2 points in the loss against Tulane. Veteran leadership is always crucial when trying to win on the road so look for Johnson and Bloodman to take over if the team is going to come away with the win.
Tulane opened the season with a blowout loss to Wake Forest but have rebounded well to win their last six games by an average of 21 points. The Green Wave and Bulldogs both find strength at the charity stripe, with both teams shooting free throws at 72% on the season.
I am not overly confident in this game, while I believe Tulane's record is deceiving and the loss to Wake Forest looks worse, Mississippi State has been inconsistent from game to game in their shooting ability. However, with a week to prepare I would expect them to pound the glass and utilize the paint, with the Bulldogs pulling out their first road win in nearly two years.
Eck's Pick: Mississippi State Victory 70-68