The Mississippi State Bulldogs travel to Knoxville, TN to take on the Tennessee Volunteers. It will be the first game since the team’s loss to the Kentucky Wildcats on Tuesday night, and the team will be looking to do better than Kentucky’s previous six opponents in their first game after the Wildcats. Here is what each of Kentucky’s first five opponents have done in the game following a loss to John Calipari’s team.
- Ole Miss lost to Florida 70-63
- Texas A&M lost to South Carolina 79-68
- Arkansas lost to Mississippi State 84-78
- Vanderbilt lost to Tennessee 87-75
- Auburn beat LSU 78-74
Four of the first five teams Kentucky played all suffered defeats after losing to the Wildcats. Auburn was able to break through and finally be the first team to get a win after losing to what many consider to easily be the best team in the conference.
Is there a relationship as to why teams have had a difficult time winning after playing Kentucky, or is it just a coincidence? It’s not an easy question to answer.
Every team Kentucky plays usually plays their best game and put a significant amount of effort in trying to knock the Wildcats off the top of the hill. But is all that effort so emotionally draining causing the teams to have a difficult time finding the energy to bounce back in their next game?
The first three opponents the Wildcats played all had games against teams which will likely finish in the top half of the league. If Mississippi State is able to rebound after Tuesday’s loss, it’s possible Florida, Mississippi State, and South Carolina could all end up in some order as number 2, 3, and 4 in the SEC standings come March. Ole Miss, Arkansas, and Texas A&M all had tough draws after their big showdown with the Wildcats.
The other two games offer very different stories. Vanderbilt simply isn’t a very good team, so it isn’t surprising the Commodores lost to Tennessee. LSU will likely finish in the bottom four of the SEC, and Auburn is starting to go in the right direction, so the fact they were the first team to win after playing Kentucky isn’t surprising either.
Mississippi State wants to prove there will be no Kentucky loss hangover. Tennessee is only 9-9 and 2-4 in SEC play. They’ve played some tough opponents like Wisconsin, Oregon, North Carolina, and Gonzaga, but they lost to every one of them.
This is a winnable game for the Bulldogs, but it isn’t one where fans can call it a game the Bulldogs SHOULD win just yet. If Mississippi State is able to put a tough loss behind them on Saturday night, then the chances they pull out a win will increase exponentially. If they can’t, it could be a long night in Knoxville.