Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. CT at Memorial Gym in Nashville. FSN will provide the game’s telecast, with Dave Neal and Larry Conley serving as courtside commentators.
The Bulldogs (13-7, 3-4) played No. 3 Florida tight for most of the game on Thursday but ultimately suffered a 62-51 setback. MSU trailed by a single point at the intermission and even took the lead twice in the early part of the second half, but the Gators found a second gear late to pull away and win their 12th game in a row.
Colin Borchert paced the Bulldogs with 15 points, while Craig Sword added 12. Sword leads the team in the scoring column as he averages 13.9 points a game, while Borchert is third with 10.6 points. Gavin Ware ranks fourth in the SEC in rebounding with 7.9 boards per outing.
“We have matured a lot,” MSU Coach Rick Ray said. “When you go from a freshman to a sophomore, there is a maturation process. Right now, we know who we are and what we are trying to do.”
After a sluggish start in league play, Vanderbilt (11-8, 3-4) has won back-to-back road contests. The Commodores claimed a 59-54 win at Georgia on Wednesday.
Rod Odom leads VU in scoring and rebounding with 14.1 points and 6.0 boards per game. Kyle Fuller is second in the conference in assists with 4.1 an outing.
“This is really a difficult team to get ready for because Vanderbilt probably runs more set plays than anybody else in the SEC,” said Ray. “Kevin Stallings is an excellent coach, and they had an extra day to get ready for us.”
The Bulldogs hope to duplicate the success they had in their last trip to Memorial Gym, as they claimed an exciting 78-77 overtime win in 2012. Vandy earned a 72-31 victory in Starkville last season.
After Saturday’s clash with the Commodores, Mississippi State will travel to College Station, Texas, for the first time as they face Texas A&M. The 8 p.m. CT tilt at Reed Arena will be televised by CSS.