When and Where to Watch: January 2nd, 7 PM CST- ESPNU
After the disasters that were the 2012 and 2013 basketball seasons, it was hard to imagine the basketball team could actually regress in Rick Ray's third year but here we are. Mississippi State is 6-6 with losses to teams like McNeese State and Arkansas St, who also happen to be considered some of the worst teams in college basketball. According to Kenpom.com, Mississippi State is 196th in the country, which not only qualifies them as the worst team in the SEC but also as the worst team in the power five conferences.
Despite having one consistent player on the court with Roquez Johnson, Coach Ray has continued to rotate the starting lineup and I believe that cost us in the last game. Johnson never found a rhythm against McNeese St and after scoring in double digits in the Jacksonville and USC Upstate games, he contributed 0 points against the Cowboys. The fact is Coach Ray is attempting to find a winning formula by mixing up the starting lineup, but the sad reality is none of his changes have mattered.
MSU's opponent, Florida State, was just wrecked by the Oregon Ducks……Oh wait, that was the football team.
The truth is the Seminoles have been a disappointing team on court. Picked to finish eighth in one of the strongest conferences in basketball, FSU tripped coming out of the starting gate, falling to 1-3 in the early part of the season. However, since the loss to Notre Dame the Noles have rallied to win four straight (with the help of the Florida Gators). The fact is these two teams are trending in opposite directions, the Noles have rebounded nicely while the Bulldogs have imploded.
One thing to watch for in this game is the shooting from behind the arc, currently both teams are horrid from the three point line with both teams shooting below 28% on the year. If either one of the teams can hit a couple of shots, it can could be too much for the other team to counteract.
If the Bulldogs find a way to win this game, it would be their first victory against a power five team since March, which was a fourteen point win over Vanderbilt in the SEC tournament. Unfortunately, it is hard to imagine the Bulldogs getting a win against Noles and it may not be close. This will be just the beginning of a long 2015 basketball season for Bulldog fans.
Pick: Florida State 72-55
Dawg Facts: This will be the 9th all time meeting between MSU and FSU, with the series tied at 4-4. The last meeting between these two teams came in 2007, an 86-71 win for the Bulldogs in the NIT.