STARKVILLE, Miss. – In one of its biggest games in recent memory, Mississippi State looks to defend its home court once again as it hosts No. 3 Florida on Thursday. Tip-off at Humphrey Coliseum is set for 6:02 p.m. CT on ESPN2, with Rece Davis and Bob Knight serving as courtside analysts.
The Bulldogs (13-6, 3-3) look to bounce back from an 82-63 defeat at Ole Miss on Saturday. I.J. Ready returned from injury to score 13 points, while Roquez Johnson also added 13 points.
Craig Sword leads MSU with 13.9 points per game. Gavin Ware averages 11.0 points and is tied for third in the SEC with 8.2 rebounds an outing.
Rick Ray’s squad continues to excel at creating turnovers, as the Bulldogs are second in the league with 8.8 steals a game.
The Gators (17-2, 6-0) enter the contest on an 11-game winning streak after claiming a 67-41 victory against Tennessee on Sunday. Florida leads the SEC in scoring defense, allowing just 58.8 points per outing. Casey Prather leads UF with 16.8 points a game, while Scottie Wilbekin averages 12.5 points.
MSU holds a 34-21 all-time series lead in Starkville. A win on Thursday would be Mississippi State’s 400th all-time victory at The Hump.
Mississippi State is looking for its first win against a ranked opponent since beating No. 18 Arizona in November of 2011.
Florida won both meetings between the schools last season, downing the Bulldogs 82-47 in Starkville and 83-58 in Gainesville. MSU has not lost consecutive home games against Florida since doing so in 2001 and 2003 and has not lost two-straight games all season.
Following Thursday’s clash, the Bulldogs will head to the Music City for a matchup at Vanderbilt. The 4 p.m. CT tilt at Memorial Gym will be televised by FSN.