Mississippi State (19-9) at Alabama (18-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday February 25th, 6:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Coleman Coliseum (15,316) -- Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Television: ESPN. Home Record: MSU 14-3, UA 11-3. Away Record: MSU 2-5, UA 4-6. Neutral Record: MSU 3-1, UA 3-0. Conference Record: MSU 6-7, UA 7-6. Series Record: Series Record: Alabama leads, 114-73.
GAME NOTES: The Mississippi State Bulldogs will attempt to salvage their season as they head to Coleman Coliseum to take on the Alabama Crimson Tide in a Southeastern Conference tilt.
This will be the second bout of the season and 188th meeting in history between MSU and the Crimson Tide. Alabama has a 114-73 lead in the all-time series, but the Bulldogs picked up a 56-52 victory in this season's inaugural contest after they grabbed 11 offensive rebounds to net 13 second chance points.
The Bulldogs lost their fourth in a row on Tuesday as they suffered a 73-64 setback versus the top ranked Kentucky Wildcats. MSU had Kentucky on its heels and led by 13 points at the intermission, but the Wildcats closed the game on a 20-4 run to remain the nation's top ranked program. The loss dropped MSU's overall record to 19-9 and positioned it in seventh place in the SEC standings. Although the Bulldogs are averaging 72.2 ppg this season, they have been held under 70 points in four straight contests, which is especially frustrating since two of those games went into overtime.
Arnett Moultrie is one of the top players in the SEC this season, as he is pacing MSU with team-leading averages of 16.4 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. Moultrie recorded his third straight double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds versus Kentucky. Dee Bost, the Bulldogs' second leading scorer for the year, led the team with 21 points and seven assists in the same contest. Freshman guard Rodney Hood scored six points in 12 minutes versus Kentucky before a collision that bruised his right knee caused him to miss the rest of the game. Jalen Steele filled in nicely and chipped in 13 points.
Alabama bolstered its NCAA at-large bid hopes on Thursday with a 79-68 victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks on the road. Head coach Anthony Grant has transformed the Crimson Tide into one of the top defensive teams in the nation as they are allowing just 58.4 ppg, which is the 12th best average in the NCAA. Although UA has a reputation for its defensive prowess, it relied on a hot 55.1 percent shooting from the floor to power past Arkansas. Alabama is netting 65.9 ppg on the offensive end, which ranks eighth in the SEC. The 79- point scoring output against Arkansas was Alabama's SEC-high and second highest total this season.
Rodney Cooper led a balanced attack for the Crimson Tide in their victory over Arkansas on Thursday with 17 points. It was just the second time in his last four games that he scored in double figures. Andrew Steele has been willing Alabama to victory during its short two-game winning streak as its star forwards Tony Mitchell and JaMychal Green continue to serve suspensions. Steele scored in double-figures for the third straight contest versus Arkansas with a season-high 15 points, which he accompanied with six rebounds.
Grant was able to lead VCU to two NCAA Tournament appearances in three seasons before arriving in Tuscaloosa. His excellent coaching has overcame Green and Mitchell's suspensions. Green has been cleared to practice, but his status for tonight is undetermined. His inside presence would have a huge impact in the defense of Moultrie, but either way expect Alabama to keep firing until the very end.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Alabama 66, Mississippi State 62
02/25 10:35:38 ET