Bulldogs, Commodores Meet In First Round Of SEC Tournament

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Sophomore guard Craig Sword leads MSU with his 13.4 scoring clip.
Photo Courtesy of Ned Edwards

ATLANTA – There’s no team Mississippi State has played more in the SEC Tournament than Vanderbilt, and on Wednesday at the Georgia Dome the theme continues.

When play tips around 8:30 p.m. CT, it will be the 14th meeting between the two in this event, with the Commodores holding an 8-5 advantage.

The opening-round matchup will be carried by the SEC Network, with Dave Neal and Jon Sundvold handling the broadcast, along with Jeff Goodman on the sidelines.

Overall, MSU is 28-50 at the tournament with three championships (1996, 2002 and 2009). Last year, the Bulldogs went 1-1, beating South Carolina before losing to Tennessee.

“Everybody feels good right now, so, it’s a positive going into the tournament,” freshman guard I.J. Ready said. “It could be a brand-new start.”

The Bulldogs (13-18, 3-15) wouldn’t mind a new start, as they travel to Atlanta with a 13-game losing streak. The Commodores (11-19) have dropped four-straight, and on Feb. 1 in Nashville, they held on to beat MSU, 55-49.

In that outing, Fred Thomas paced MSU with 16 points, while Gavin Ware was tops on the boards with 8.

On the year, Craig Sword leads MSU with his 13.4 scoring clip, followed by Ware at 10.0.

Vanderbilt, which defeated the Bulldogs 87-81 the last time the two met in the 2011 SEC Tournament, is led in scoring by Rod Odom (13.6), while Damian Jones is tops on the boards at 5.7.

The winner of the game advances to the second round, where it will face Ole Miss at 8:30 p.m. on the Thursday. The Bulldogs and Rebels have met just once in the tournament, with MSU claiming a 73-64 win in 2003 in New Orleans.

“Our guys have to go in with a positive mindset,” MSU coach Rick Ray said. “I know it’s hard to do in a losing streak.”


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