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Texas A&M (12-7) at Mississippi State (7-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 30, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Humphrey Coliseum (10,500) -- Starkville, Mississippi. Television: CSS, ESPN3.com. Home Record: Texas A&M 9-3, MSU 5-3. Away Record: Texas A&M 2-2, MSU 1-5. Neutral Record: Texas A&M 1-2, MSU 1-3. Conference Record: Texas A&M 2-4, MSU 2-4. Series Record: Mississippi State leads, 2-1.
GAME NOTES: Both the Texas A&M Aggies and the Mississippi State Bulldogs will try to halt prolonged losing streaks on Wednesday night, as the two teams take the floor at Humphrey Coliseum for an SEC showdown.
Texas A&M's season got off to a promising 12-3 start, which included wins in its first two games as a member of the SEC over Arkansas (69-51) and Kentucky (83-71). Since then, however, the Aggies have faltered in four straight, with their most disappointing setback of the season coming at home against Georgia this past Saturday, 59-52.
Mississippi State is also in the midst of a season-long, four-game losing streak, with its most recent setback coming at home to nationally-ranked Florida in blowout fashion, 82-47. Although this is the Bulldogs longest stretch of futility this season, they have become accustomed to falling on the losing end of things, as they sit just 7-11 overall.
Mississippi State has won two of the three all-time matchups with Texas A&M, including a 69-60 decision in November of 2011.
The Aggies have not been terribly strong at the offensive end of the court this season, scoring just 63.3 ppg, but things have been even worse during their current losing streak as they've posted 54 points or less in each of the four games. They were off the mark in Saturday's loss to Georgia, shooting less than 35 percent from the field and going only 12-of-23 from the foul line. Elston Turner finished with 19 points, but he did so on just 5-of-14 accuracy from the floor, while Fabyon Harris netted 13 points in the setback. Elston Turner has been Texas A&M's best scorer this season, putting up 15.7 ppg due mostly to plenty of activity from beyond the arc, where he has connected on 47-of-116 attempts (.405). Harris (10.5 ppg) doesn't try nearly as many 3-point shots as does Turner, but he's just as effective (26-of-58, .448), while Ray Turner brings a stable force to the paint with 10.0 ppg and 5.8 rpg. What the Aggies lack in offense they make up for in defensive pressure, as they surrender less than 60 ppg to their opponents.
Mississippi State was thoroughly overmatched by Florida in its latest game. Not only was it outshot from the field by a considerable margin (55.4 percent to 32.7 percent), but it was also dominated on the boards, 44-20. Fred Thomas provided some excitement off the bench with 19 points and seven steals, but he shot only 5-of-14 from the field on the night. Colin Borchert and Gavin Ware tallied 10 points apiece in the losing effort. On the season, the Bulldogs have not been terribly impressive at either end of the court, scoring just 61.2 ppg (on 40.4 percent field goal shooting) while yielding 66.7 ppg to their opponents and losing both the turnover (minus-1.2 margin) and rebounding (minus-1.8) battles. Thomas nets a team-best 11.1 ppg, albeit on less than 35 percent shooting from the field, and while he has started less than half of the team's games, he logs the most minutes per contest (28.6). Roquez Johnson is the only other MSU player to average double-digit points with 10.1 ppg, although Craig Sword (9.5 ppg) and Jalen Steele (9.4 ppg) are on the doorstep.
Something has to give in this battle between floundering squads, and while MSU has the home court advantage, the Aggies are simply the more talented squad, giving them the better chance to snap out of their skid.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas A&M 65, Mississippi State 61
01/30 10:36:05 ET
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