We’re just days away from college basketball season making its triumphant return. In the midst of a heated college football season, it’s a beautiful time where both sports overlap. On the flip side, it’s a time where stress is doubled.
Mississippi State men’s basketball is entering the 2018-19 season with expectations. The bar is set at making the NCAA tournament, a feat that hasn’t been done since 2009. Senior guard Quinndary Weatherspoon will have the spotlight to lead the Bulldogs to the dance, and with a loaded SEC slate this year, it won’t be an easy task.
There are obvious games that’ll be huge. Any time Kentucky comes to town, there’ll be a show. Some games, however, are ones that could push State over the edge, and in the event of the Bulldogs being on the bubble, those wins could go a long way.
vs. Arizona State (Monday, November 19 in Las Vegas, NV)
The Sun Devils aren’t ranked in either preseason polls, but they’ll still be a good test to see just how good Mississippi State is. The two teams face off in the MGM Resorts Main Event and play the winner of St. Mary’s and Utah State.
vs. Clemson (Saturday, December 8 in Newark, NJ)
In the first game where the Bulldogs take on a ranked opponent, head coach Ben Howland will lead his team against the No. 22 Clemson Tigers. This game is apart of the Never Forget Tribute Classic and will be broadcasted on ESPN 2.
vs. Cincinnati (Saturday, December 15)
Here’s where State can get a quality win at home. The Cincinnati Bearcats lost a lot of weapons from last year, but still boast Jarron Cumberland and Cane Broome. It’ll be a nice test that comes after a big game against Clemson.
vs. Ole Miss (Saturday, January 12)
Doesn’t need an explanation.
at Kentucky (Tuesday, January 22)
This will be a big one. Kentucky is the No. 2 team in both preseason polls and will be around there the entire season. A Tuesday night at Rupp Arena will be without a doubt the toughest game State will play.
vs. Auburn (Saturday, January 26)
The key to State’s run to the tournament is winning big games at home. Auburn comes in with high expectations, highlighted in its No. 11 ranking in the preseason AP Top 25. A win here sets the tone heading into a critical month of February.
at Ole Miss (Saturday, February 2)
vs. Kentucky (Saturday, February 9)
Kentucky will be the toughest home game all year. Say the Wildcats are burning through the SEC, this could be their reality check if the Bulldogs play their cards right.
at Tennessee (Tuesday, March 5)
The Volunteers are going to be very good this year. Some people are saying they’ll be up there with Kentucky fighting for the SEC title. With this being the second to last conference regular season game, it’d be nice to steal a win in Knoxville.
Obviously, every game in the SEC is big. Senior day is big, too. As the season goes on, different games will have different magnitudes. For example, LSU should be decent this year, the game against them will be one where a lot of televisions are tuned into. Either way, basketball season is upon us, and it’s going to be an exciting few months.