Bulldogs, 'Dores Square Off In Friday's Quarterfinals
Starting Friday, the Bulldogs look to make it three years running when they face Vanderbilt, which upended LSU 62-50 late Thursday. Tip at the Georgia Dome is slated for 9 p.m. CT, with the SEC Network carrying the game.
“This is always a special time of the year, a new season,” 13th-year MSU coach Rick Stansbury said. “We’ve had some success recently in this tournament, and we know what’s at stake this year.”
Mississippi State sports a 27-47 ledger in the SEC Tournament, but with Stansbury at the helm, MSU is 16-10 and has won six out of its last seven games. The 16 wins for Stansbury rank ninth all-time in SEC history.
The Bulldogs (17-13) earned an opening-round bye thanks to their current three-game winning streak, which features wins at Tennessee and Arkansas. MSU also comes to Atlanta riding the momentum of Ravern Johnson’s hot hand.
In his last six outings, the senior guard from Lyon, Miss., has made 39 of his 71 shots (.549), while draining 26 of his 44 3-point attempts (.591).
He leads MSU in scoring with his 17.6 average, a total that is fifth in the SEC.
“I’ve just been working extra hard trying to get my shot back,” he said.
The Bulldogs are 5-2 this season against the teams on their side of the bracket, with one of the losses coming against Vanderbilt at Humphrey Coliseum back in late January, 81-74.
In SEC Tournament play, the Bulldogs are 7-5 against the Commodores and have split the last four, with the most recent showdown coming last year in the semifinals in Nashville, a game MSU prevailed, 63-52.
If Mississippi State wins on Friday, it plays in the semifinals at 2:30 p.m. CT on Saturday against either Florida, Arkansas or Tennessee on ABC.