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SEC Hoops Preview: Vanderbilt

Mississippi State finds itself as the lone SEC school without a conference win after opening SEC play with three straight losses. Can the Bulldogs pull out a SEC victory against the Commodores of Vanderbilt?

Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Mississippi State returns to Starkville following a two-game road trip to take on Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs have gotten off to a sour start in SEC play but hope to turn things around at home against the Commodores. Vandy and MSU already share one common opponent this season in St. Louis, with both teams coming away with double digit victories.

Who: Vanderbilt (11-5, 1-2) @ Mississippi State (7-9, 0-3)

Series History: 122 Meetings, Vanderbilt Leads 76-46

Where to Watch: The Hump, Fox Sports Network

When: January 17th, 3 PM CST

Vanderbilt's offense will certainly pose a problem for Mississippi State, even if the Bulldogs are at their best defensively. The Commodores rank 11th in the nation in field goal percentage (49.5%) and average 73 points per game. Despite losing to Georgia in their last contest, Vanderbilt showed their explosive offensive potential by hitting nine 3-pointers. Vandy has actually shot well from long range all season, hitting on 38% of their three point attempts. Comparatively, MSU is only shooting 28% from behind the arc.

Mississippi State's loss against Texas A&M was the team's best performance in conference play to date. After getting wiped off the floor by Tennessee and Florida, one could have assumed that the Bulldogs were ready to pack it in, but they didn't. The Bulldogs came out guns blazing and hit TEN 3-pointers, the most by the team this season.Four players would score in double figures and it felt as if State was finally putting in a full team effort. MSU would actually lead A&M at the half before the Aggies would gain control early in the second. Despite the loss, there were plenty of positives to take away from the game against A&M. Most importantly: The team has not quit.

I want to believe that Mississippi State will win this game but I just don't see it happening against such a potent offensive team. Fans should expect a relatively close contest throughout but Vanderbilt's firepower will be too much too handle, as the Commodores pull away late.

Prediction: Vandy 77-67

Dawg Facts: A loss to Vanderbilt would be 17 SEC regular-season losses in a row for the Bulldogs, longest in school history.