When and Where to Watch: 6 P.M CST- Fox Sports South
The 111th edition of Florida-Mississippi State will be met with little fanfare from either fan base. Florida is off to their worst start in years and Mississippi State is coming off a loss to Tennessee in which the Bulldogs made a total of ELEVEN shots in the entire ballgame.This isn't the typical Billy Donovan led squad SEC fans have become accustomed to over the years, but the Gators still have the talent to be the second best team in the SEC.
The Bulldogs are coming off one of their worst performances to date. Mississippi State shot 30% from the floor, 11% from behind the arc and only 55% from the free-throw line. State actually got more production from the free throw line (24 points) than they did from their made field goals (23 points). The Bulldogs have had some embarrassing performances this season but it is hard to top the poor offensive display put forth by both teams at the Hump earlier this week.
Florida has been far from an offensive juggernaut this season, ranking 191st in points per game in the nation and 146th in field goal percentage. Where the Gators have excelled this season is with their defense. The Gators average more than eight steals per game and are holding their opponents to 57 points per game. Don't be deceived by the Gators' 8-6 record, this team is still far more talented than the majority of their SEC counterparts. Outside of the double digit loss to North Carolina, the Gators' other five losses have come by an average of three points.
This is a bad matchup for Mississippi State and also the toughest opponent the Bulldogs have faced up to this point in the season. A State loss would give Florida five straight in the series and would secure a 20-game road losing streak for the Bulldogs.
Unfortunately, this one could turn ugly. The Gators are a significantly better three-point shooting team than Mississippi State and their stingy defense will be too much for the Bulldogs to overcome. The combination of Florida's defense and State's lack of a consistent scoring threat will doom MSU as the Gators come away with a big double digit victory.
Dawg Facts: Mississippi State is looking to avoid the school's first 0-2 start to conference play since 2006. That season the Bulldogs started SEC play 0-7 and finished with a record of 5-11.
Prediction: Florida 69-50