Charlotte, N.C. - Charlotte Coliseum
Sunday, 5:00 p.m., CBS
How They Got Here:
NCAA First Round: Behind a strong second half shooting performance, the Bulldogs turned a two point game into a 23 point blowout victory over Stanford. Lawrence Roberts, MSU's preseason All-Conference selection big man, led the way with 23 points and 14 rebounds on the interior while Winsome Frazier continued to round into form with 20 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the three point line. As has been their tradition all season long, the Bulldogs owned the glass against the Cardinal by a 38-25 margin.
Bulldogs' Season To Date: Injuries have slowed the preseason top 15 Bulldogs, including the injury to Frazier. After a 14-3 start, the Bulldogs ended the regular season on a 6-7 stretch that included blowout losses to Alabama (49 points), Kentucky (16 points), and Florida (16 points). However, with Frazier finally getting healthy and the team recommitting itself to defense, the Bulldogs looked the part of a top 15 team in their dismantling of the Cardinal, and will look to make their season with an upset win over Duke.
Window Washers: The one thing that Mississippi State has that many other teams covet is size. And lots of it. With seven players standing 6-foot-9 or taller, the Bulldogs have made their living on the boards, where they rank fourth in the nation in rebounding margin. As a team they average nearly 41 rebounds per contest, which makes up for their trouble handling the ball (14.9 turnovers per game).
"The Man" in the middle: Lawrence Roberts began the season with an eye on improving his stock in the opinions NBA types. And to date he's done nothing to hurt his stock, leading the team in scoring (16.9) and rebounding (11.0). With a terrific combination of size and quickness, Roberts can face up or go to work down on the blocks. Has shown the ability to step out to the perimeter and knock down set jumpers. As with most seniors, he understands the game very well and is a very good passing big man.
*- Duke and Mississippi State haven't met since the 1937-38 season. The Bulldogs have won both meetings.
*- ALL-TIME TOURNAMENT RECORD: Mississippi State - 9-7, 6 years. Duke - 82-25, 29 years.
*- With a victory, head coach Mike Krzyzewksi will become the NCAA Tournament's All-Time winningest head coach, passing Dean Smith.
Probable Starting Lineup: F- Lawrence Roberts (6-9, 240, SR) – 16.9 ppg, 11.0 rpg F- Shane Power (6-5, 210, SR) – 11.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg F- Ontario Harper (6-5, 215 SR) – 8.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg G- Gary Ervin (5-10, 170, SO) – 7.4 ppg, 4.7 apg G- Winsome Frazier (6-4, 180, SR) – 12.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg Key Reserves: C- Marcus Campbell (7-0, 270, SR) – 6.0 ppg, 5.1 rpg G- Jamall Edmondson (5-9, 185, JR) – 4.9 ppg, 1.3 apg G- Jamall Edmondson (6-3, 195, SO) – 3.3 ppg, 2.2 rpg