Tipoff is set for shortly after 6 p.m. as the 13-10 Bulldogs, who are 5-4 in the SEC, take on an Auburn team that is 1-8 in the SEC and 8-15 overall. On Jan. 16th in Starkville the Bulldogs defeated Auburn 85-66.
Auburn comes into the game against Coach Rick Stansbury's Bulldogs after having no midweek game. "It's good in a way because you have time to prepare for the next game, but it can hurt you because even though we lost at Georgia we played well," Barbee said.
"We had some good momentum going also," the coach noted. "It may hurt you in that way as far as the rhythm, but I think our guys got after it the last couple of days, and we should be okay. Then, if you have guys with nagging injuries, it can help injuries also. It has good things and bad things in it, but overall we will be ready to play."
Dee Bost, a 6-2 junior point guard, leads MSU in scoring at 17.2 points per game and is averaging 5.5 assists per contest for the Bulldogs, who have won three of their last four games, including a 67-56 win this week vs. Arkansas.
Dee Bost is shown in action for the Bulldogs.
Renardo Sidney, a 6-10, 270 sophomore, is averaging 13.5 points and 6.8 rebounds. Kodi Augustus,a 6-8, 224 senior forward, is the top rebounder at 7.6 per contest and is scoring 11.9 points per game. The leading scorer is 6-7 guard Ravern Johnson, who is averaging 17.7 points per outing, has missed the last two games due to a suspension.
"They are a very talented team and they are starting to get their chemistry together since Bost has come back," Barbee says. " He is one of their better players. With him back in the lineup, he brings them to another dimension.
"Sidney is starting to get into shape now," Barbee adds. "They are one of the most talented teams in our conference."
Commenting on Auburn's loss to MSU in January, Barbee says, "Defensively, we didn't play well the first game. We made it really easy for them because we didn't defend well. We had a lot of defensive breakdowns that caused them to get easy baskets under the basket or a three-point shot.
Auburn is led in scoring by sophomore guard Earnest Ross, who is coming off a career-high game of 30 points vs. Georgia. He is averaging 13.2 points per contest.
Another sophomore who recently had his best game as a college player, 6-10 center Rob Chubb, is currently suspended from the team but is expected to return to action during the season, Barbee says, although the coach has not given a timetable for that happening. Chubb was charged with public intoxication, disorderly conduct, attempting to elude a police officer and resisting arrest near downtown Auburn the night after scoring a career high 18 points vs. South Carolina.
Chubb is the third leading scorer on the team at 8.1 points per game. Junior forward Kenny Gabriel is No. 2 with 9.6 per contest and a team-leading 6.0 rebounds per game.
Fox Sports South will televise the Mississippi State at Auburn game. After Saturday night the Tigers have just six games remaining before the SEC Tournament.