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SEC Hoops Preview: Arkansas

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Rick Ray hopes to guide the Bulldogs to a third straight win as Mississippi State takes on Arkansas in Fayetteville this weekend.

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Dogs vs Hogs

Who: Mississippi State Bulldogs (11-11, 4-5) @ Arkansas Razorbacks (17-5, 6-3)

Where to Watch: SEC Network

When to Watch: February 7th, 3 PM CST

Another tough game for Mississippi State, another big win for Rick Ray and the Bulldogs. Shortly after the biggest win of Rick Ray's tenure against LSU, Mississippi State went on the road and pulled out the upset win over the Volunteers of Tennessee. Now, the Bulldogs face an even bigger challenge against the offensively explosive Razorbacks of Arkansas.

Against Tennessee, the Bulldogs shot for 55% from the floor and had one of their best offensive performances of league play. Craig Sword and Fred Thomas exploded against the Vols, with the duo combining for 46 of the Bulldogs 71 points. Despite recurring pain from a back injury, Sword has averaged 18.0 points per game in the last five contests and has had a huge impact on this rapidly improving MSU squad.

Winners of four of their last five, Arkansas has proven to be one of the most offensively dynamic teams in the country and has an argument for being considered the second best team in the SEC. Bobby Portis is the league's leading scorer at 17 points per game and has scored in double-figures in all but one of the Razorbacks games this season. If the Bulldogs can find a way to slow him down they will have a chance.

The Bulldogs are a completely different team from who they were a month ago. Wins over LSU and Tennessee have put many in the SEC on guard for MSU. Can Mississippi State find a way to slow down the Razorbacks and their lethal Portis/Qualls duo? Arkansas is far from unbeatable but their offense and the home environment may be too much for the Bulldogs in this game.

It will take another dynamite performance by Craig Sword and one of his fellow teammates to come out of this hostile environment with a win but don't be surprised if that is exactly what happens. The Bulldogs are hot and confident, making this game very unpredictable. Should be a good one! #HailState

Prediction: Arkansas 82-74

Something to Watch: The Bulldogs are 0-6 when their opponent shoots better than 45% from the floor. The Razorbacks average field-goal percentage on the season is 45.3%

Dawg Facts: A win against the Razorbacks would give Mississippi State its first three game winning streak in the SEC since 2011.