Battle of the Dawgs
Who: Georgia (12-6, 3-2) @ Mississippi State (9-9, 2-3)
Where to Watch: Fox Sports Networks (Regional)
When to Watch: January 24th, 2 PM CST
Now that Mississippi State has moved on from both their SEC and road game losing streaks, the Bulldogs can turn their attention to just playing solid basketball. Next up? Georgia.
UGA is arguably the toughest team that MSU has faced in conference play. Georgia has dismantled Florida and their two conference losses have come by a combined 7 points. They own an ugly loss to their rival Georgia Tech but the Georgia Bulldogs have been rapidly improving the last few weeks and will prove to be a tough test for State.
State's win against Auburn snapped a 22 game road losing streak, dating back two years, and lifted the spirits of not only the fans but the coaches and players as well. It was also the first win for Mississippi State at Auburn Arena in the building's relatively short history.
The last game was a great performance all around and highlighted the ability of this team when they play at high level. Four players scored in the double digits with I.J. Ready tying a career high with 18 points against Auburn. In the past four games Ready has averaged 14.3 points per game, a team-best. Gavin Ware also continued pounding the boards by bringing in 18 rebounds against the Tigers, tied for the most rebounds in the SEC this season.
After starting 0-2 in the SEC, Georgia has rebounded to win their last three contests, including a dominant performance over Florida. Can the Bulldogs success continue? UGA has struggled away from home this season, dropping games to Georgia Tech and Minnesota, both of which are currently at the bottom of their own leagues. The Bulldogs do however own some nice wins over Seton Hall and Kansas State that have bumped Georgia to 24th in RPI, making them a borderline NCAA team. MSU fans can also take note that Georgia has also struggled with other bottom-tier SEC schools like Ole Miss and Vanderbilt, so this team is capable of winning or losing any game.
This could be a good time for Mississippi State to play Georgia. Both teams are coming into the contest with some momentum but Mississippi State has been playing their best basketball of the season the past couple of games and have found a way to at least hit on a few three-point attempts. The key to the game will be beating Georgia off the defensive glass where they currently rank 15th best in the country. Unfortunately, Georgia has also been hitting on offense in recent weeks and will be coming off a nice come back win against Ole Miss. Mississippi State will find themselves in another tight battle but Georgia is just a little better than MSU and that will show in the final box score.
Prediction: Georgia 72-66