It will be a showdown in Nashville, as those in Bridgestone Arena will be treated to a classic.
Tipoff is at 4:30 pm ET on ESPN2
Records and Rankings
Record: 32-0, 12-4 SEC
Ranking: 2 AP / 2 Coaches Poll
Record: 25-6, 11-5 SEC
Ranking: 8 AP / 8 Coaches Poll
What to Watch For
Teaira McCowan vs A’ja Wilson in the paint:
The best of the best will be going head to head down low, as McCowan and Wilson have dominated all season. Wilson has been deemed the nation’s best overall player and is sure to show out in tonight’s matchup. Her versatility in the paint will give Mississippi State headaches, as she put up 25 points and 14 rebounds in the Bulldogs’ last meeting with the Gamecocks. She added two blocks as well, proving she can rule both ends of the floor.
Though only nine points in that game, McCowan was a force to be reckoned with on the boards. She posted 20 rebounds and three blocks. Look for McCowan to make her presence felt early and draw multiple defenders. In order for Mississippi State to win, McCowan must be at the top of her game, ultimately recording her 25th double-double.
Roshunda Johnson and Blair Schaefer from three:
Schaefer and Johnson are by far and away the SEC’s best three-point shooting tandem, and will have to put it on full display. The two have found their stride as of late and should have their way. While both are also formidable defensively, their three-point game could be the game’s x-factor.
South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley and the Gamecocks will have to find a recipe to take away the three-point shot. Once Schaefer and Johnson get in a groove from distance, it’s borderline unstoppable. Look for the duo to take over and give the Bulldogs a lift late.
Jazzmun Holmes as spark plug:
A star was born when these two last met, as Holmes slammed the door on South Carolina. Her energy was infectious and she filled the stat line with a purpose . Holmes posted six points, four rebounds, eight assists, and two steals in 22 minutes off the bench. Mississippi State Head Coach Vic Schaefer will incorporate her into many different schemes, as Holmes is sure to spark the Bulldogs throughout.
Holmes has emerged as a reliable star, always playing with a chip on her shoulder. She will take chances defensively, which usually result in steals. Look for Holmes will make at least one game-changing play on defense.
Victoria Vivians in crunch time:
Vivians isn’t afraid of anything and will let nobody stand in her way. She will post mind blowing stats as a scorer and take over if and when needed. Coach Vic and her teammates trust her, as she has become an even better leader.
Look for her to crash the boards and step up defensively. Vivians is an all-around talent with a one of a kind work ethic. Her attitude and mindset is unique and will shine bright under the lights in Nashville.
South Carolina is a powerhouse playing for their fourth SEC tournament championship in a row. However, the Bulldogs’ depth will end up being too much for the Gamecocks. Look for an epic showdown with a ton of lead changes, as Mississippi State will make the game-winning play and/or shot. Though it won’t be easy, the Bulldogs will roll to an SEC tournament championship and a perfect 33-0.