Bulldogs, Friars To Meet In 2012 SEC/BIG East Challenge
Although the two schools have never met, MSU is 10-13 all-time against Big East foes following last year's 75-62 win against West Virginia at Humphrey Coliseum. The Friars are 11-16 versus the SEC and claimed a 76-67 win at South Carolina last December.
"We are excited about the challenge of going on the road and playing a fine, up-and-coming team like Providence," first-year Mississippi State coach Rick Ray said. "This game will prepare us for the rigors of SEC basketball. Coach (Ed) Cooley has went out and put together a Top 10 recruiting class in the nation, and they have potent scorers returning back in their lineup. We will have to be very good defensively to come out with a road win in this game."
This year's Challenge will once again feature 12 games played from Nov. 29-Dec. 1. Last year, the Big East won 8 of the 12 outings, and it holds a 16-12 all-time advantage since the inception of this event five years ago.
All games will be broadcast on the ESPN family of networks (ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU), while game times will be announced at a later date.
The Friars, under the direction of first-year coach Ed Cooley, posted a 15-17 ledger a year ago, including a 4-14 mark in league play, with just one senior on the roster. They'll also enter the 2013 campaign with a 19-game winning streak against non-conference foes at their home arena, Dunkin' Donuts Center.
Providence will be led by Big East All-Rookie selection LaDontae Henton and Third Team All-Big East point guard Vincent Council. Henton averaged 14.3 points and 8.6 rebounds last season, while Council led the Friars in scoring (15.9 ppg) and for the second consecutive season led the league in assists (7.5 apg). He also ranked fourth in the nation in assists per game.
The Bulldogs went 21-12 last year and saw their season end with a double-overtime setback to UMass in the opening round of the NIT. MSU's top returning scorer will be Jalen Steele, who averaged 8.7 points and started 16 of the 33 games he played. He was also second on the team with 70 made 3-pointers.
2012 SEC/Big East Challenge Schedule
Thursday, Nov. 29
Kentucky at Notre Dame
Marquette at Florida
South Carolina at St. John's
Seton Hall at LSU
Friday, Nov. 30
Syracuse at Alabama
Tennessee at Georgetown
DePaul at Auburn
Georgia at USF
Saturday, Dec. 1
Alabama at Cincinnati
Villanova at Vanderbilt
Mississippi State at Providence
Rutgers at Ole Miss