Saturday afternoon, the Mississippi State Bulldogs (21-9, 9-8) say goodbye to one of the best basketball players in recent history, Quinndary Weatherspoon. Q is playing his last game at The Hump, but it’s not quite the end of his career. The Bulldogs are in place to get the No. 4 seed in the Southeastern Conference Men’s Tournament and are listed as the best No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament. This might be his last regular season game, but there is a lot of basketball left to be played.
Senior Night will be against the Texas A&M Aggies (13-16, 6-11). The Aggies have struggled to replace key pieces on last year’s Sweet Sixteen team that upset North Carolina in the Round of 32. The only thing A&M is playing for is seeding in the SEC Men’s Tournament and spoiling MSU’s opportunity for a better seed.
A&M has struggled to shoot from all areas of the floor this season. The Aggies are currently shooting 43.5 percent from the field, 69.5 percent from the free throw line and 30.1 percent from 3-point range. The most reliable scorers are Wendell Mitchell, Savion Flagg, and TJ Starks; all three are averaging over 12 points per game. Mitchell can shoot the ball well from the outside (36.1 percent) and capitalize on fouls (84.3 percent), Flagg leads the team in rebounds with 7.8 per game, and Starks averages 3.5 assists per game. Recent Aggie teams were known for the great players in the post, but this year, the production mainly comes from the guards.
Mississippi State matches up very well against Texas A&M. MSU leads A&M in all statistical categories. Ben Howland will want to put this game away, and put it away early. Mississippi State can end the regular season with a win and momentum headed into the SEC Men’s Tournament. If MSU can get the No. 4 seed and the two-round-bye, the Bulldogs have a legitimate shot to make it to Sunday in the Tournament.
This Mississippi State team has a chance to end a lot of bad streaks that have plagued the program this decade. With a win on Saturday, the Bulldogs will have:
- The most conference wins since 2008
- First winning SEC record since 2011
- Highest SEC Men’s Tournament seed since 2012
- Most wins prior to the SEC Men’s Tournament since 2004 (SEC Regular Season Champions)
Ben Howland has done an outstanding job turning this program around, and this MSU squad is headed back to the NCAA Tournament in 10 years. It’s a very exciting time to be a Bulldog, and with what this team is bringing back next year, the fun is just getting started. Go Dawgs and Hail State!