Aaron Epps vs. Texas A&M (USA TODAY SPORTS)

Game Preview: LSU vs. Mississippi State

LSU heads to Starkville, Miss. to close out the regular season on Saturday at 5 p.m. CT against Mississippi State on the SEC Network.

LSU (10-19 overall, 2-15 in SEC) at Mississippi State (14-15 overall, 5-12 in SEC)
WHEN: Saturday, March 4 at 5 p.m. CT
WHERE: Humphrey Coliseum (Starkville, Miss.)
TV/RADIO: SEC Network | Tiger Sports Radio Network
SERIES: 
LSU leads 109-99
LAST MEETING: State came into Baton Rouge on Jan. 7 and beat LSU 95-78

Tiger Trends

For the first time since LSU beat Missouri in early January, the Tigers got a win over an opponent. That 15-game losing streak was snapped with a 92-82 victory over Tennessee in Baton Rouge on Wednesday. The Tigers got timely defense, holding the Volunteers to just one field goal over a 14-minute stretch in the second half. While guard Antonio Blakeney's 20-point game streak was snapped, the Tigers got huge nights from Jalyn Patterson and Brandon Sampson, who combined for 46 points in the win. Johnny Jones' team was able to pull away in the second half after being down four points at the half to the Volunteers, an even better sign for the team's character and ability to battle.

Scouting Mississippi State

The month of February was not kind to the Bulldogs as the team lost seven straight contests after opening with a win over Tennessee. LSU of course, beat Tennessee in Baton Rouge on Wednesday night to snap its 15-game losing streak. Ben Howland's squad can't help itself in the SEC Tournament seeding, sitting at the 12-seed right now. Six of the seven losses have been by a combined 33 points outside of a 77-48 blowout loss to Vanderbilt last Saturday. 

Key Bulldogs to Watch

G Quinndary Weatherspoon: State's leading scorer with 165 points per game and also adding in five rebounds, is a tough assignment for just about anyone in the SEC, but hasn't been as hot in league play as when he came in averaging 18 points per game to the last matchup between the teams.

F Aric Holman: The 6-10 sophomore will be tough for the Tigers to deal with if Reath gets into foul trouble on Saturday. Holman is averaging eight points and six rebounds on the season and against the Tigers, they'll look to work it inside to him to create some space for players like Weatherspoon to exploit.

Projected Mississippi State Starters:
G Lamar Peters
G Mario Kegler
G Quinndary Weatherspoon
G I.J. Ready
F Aric Holman

Projected LSU Starters:
G Skylar Mays
G Antonio Blakeney
G Brandon Sampson
F Duop Reath
F Aaron Epps

Matchup to Watch

Duop Reath vs. Aric Holman: The two young squads will feature two big men that certainly have some length. Holman had 17 points against the Tigers last time out while Reath had 19 points too. It'll be a solid round two matchup for the pair. Who will get the best of each other will tell a lot as far as who takes home the win.

Keys to the Game

Like any road test, LSU has to stay out of turnover trouble, but even more so on Saturday, the team has to lock in and focus. It was an emotional win for the Tigers to end that streak, but on Saturday, the Bulldogs will have their own emotional boost with it being Senior Night. For a team that is certainly trending the wrong way, LSU has a chance to match that emotion and play with a lot of energy. Can that be enough to avenge a blowout loss at the Maravich Center earlier this season to the Bulldogs? It would go a long way.


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