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Mississippi State at Florida Preview

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The Bulldogs head to Gainesville to take on the Gators

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Florida vs East Tennessee State Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

The Mississippi State Bulldogs Men’s Basketball team heads to Gainesville to take on the Florida Gators on Wednesday. It’s the only time the two teams will meet during the 2017-18 Men’s Basketball Season.

Broadcast Information

  • Television: SEC Network
  • Radio: Mississippi State Radio Network
  • Time: 6:00 p.m.

Records and Rankings

Mississippi State

  • Record: 13-2 (1-1 SEC, tied for 6th)
  • RPI: 66 (as of Monday morning)
  • AP Ranking: Not Ranked

Florida

  • Record: 11-4 (2-0 SEC, 1st)
  • RPI: 48 (as of Monday morning)
  • AP Ranking: Not Ranked

Projected Starting Lineups

Mississippi State

  • Quinndary Weatherspoon
  • Nick Weatherspoon
  • Tyson Carter
  • Aric Holman
  • Abdul Ado

Florida

  • Egor Koulechov
  • Chris Chiozza
  • Keith Stone
  • Kevarrius Hayes
  • KeVaughn Allen

Things to Watch For

  • Hudson off the bench: The leading scorer for the Gators doesn’t play in the starting lineup. He comes off the bench, and his name is Jalen Hudson. He averages 16.9 points per game and shoots a lights out 44.4% from three point range. His main role is to score, and he does it at a high level.
  • Three Point Shooting Woes: Mississippi State continues to struggle from behind the arc. The Bulldogs are 9-45 from three in their two SEC games. If they continue to struggle from behind the line and Florida shoots their typical 39.3% from three, it could be a long night for the Bulldogs
  • Killer Zone: With approximately 8:00 to play in the second half of the game against the Rebels, Mississippi State led 50-39. Ole Miss switched to a 1-3-1 trapping zone and completely shut Mississippi State’s offense down. The Bulldogs are going to have to figure out how to knock down some deep shots or teams will continue to zone them like the Rebels did.
  • Turnovers and points off those turnovers: So why was Mississippi State able to beat a really good Arkansas team but lose to a really bad Ole Miss team? It all comes down to turnovers and creating points off of them. Against Arkansas, Mississippi State forced 13 turnovers and forced 19 points off of them. They didn’t have to worry about a zone as a result when you’re scoring in transition. Against Ole Miss, they only forced 7 turnovers and scored just 7 points off them which allowed Ole Miss to camp in their zone and force the Bulldogs to hit outside shots. And we all know by now, that didn’t happen.

Prediction

Mississippi State lost a lot of momentum they had gained with their fans after losing to Ole Miss. A loss to Florida would kick any remaining momentum completely to the curb. A win though would get most of it right back. So what happens?

I think this game will be somewhat competitive. Mississippi State is going to be pressed by Howland to force those turnovers simply because they are terrible at hitting threes right now. Despite that, I don’t think it will be enough. Mississippi State fights hard but ultimately comes up short, 72-67.