STARKVILLE, Miss. - For the third time in the last four games, Mississippi State is on the road in SEC play, this time at Auburn.
Tip is set for 6 p.m., and the game will be televised by Fox Sports South, with Dave Neal handling the play-by-play duties and Larry Conley serving as the analyst.
It's the second meeting of the year between the two schools, with the Bulldogs claiming a convincing 85-66 win on Jan. 16 at Humphrey Coliseum. In that outing, Ravern Johnson led all scorers with 21 points, while Renardo Sidney and Riley Benock added 15 and 11 points, respectively.
"This is not the same Auburn team that came here last month," said 13th-year MSU coach Rick Stansbury, whose team is 13-10 overall and 5-4 in SEC play after posting back-to-back wins against LSU and Arkansas. "They've definitely improved. They went on the road and won at South Carolina and went to overtime against Georgia. We know they will be ready for us."
The Tigers are 8-15 overall and 1-8 in the conference. They are led by Earnest Ross' 13.2 points, followed by Kenny Gabriel at 9.6.
As for the Bulldogs, they are looking to win three-straight SEC games for the first time this season and keep pace with Alabama for the Western Division chase.
MSU, which has lost two straight at Auburn, travels to the Plains following Dee Bost's 18-point performance against Arkansas where he became the 33rd player in school history to reach 1,000 points for a career. The game also featured a second-straight double-double by freshman Renardo Sidney, who finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
"I thought we played with great toughness against Arkansas," Stansbury said. "It's the kind of play you've got to have to compete in the SEC."
After Saturday, the Bulldogs are back on the road, this time at No. 18 Kentucky on Tuesday in 6 p.m. ESPN showdown. On the year, Mississippi State is 1-1 against ranked teams, losing to Vanderbilt and beating Florida.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Weather conditions are anticipated to be much fairer in Florida this weekend than in Mississippi, and that is good news for the Mississippi State men's golf team which will be teeing off its spring season in Gainesville, Fla., at the Gator Invitational.
The field at the Gator Invitational accounts for 14 teams including three of which are ranked inside the top 10 nationally, with host-school Florida leading the way at No. 1, followed by LSU at sixth and Auburn ranked 10th. Also, five of the 14 teams participating were a part of the 2010 NCAA Tournament field.
This is the fourth-straight appearance by Coach Clay Homan and his Bulldog squad in the Gator Invitational, which included a third-place appearance back in 2008. The three-round event will be played at the par-70 Mark Bostick Golf Course.
"We are eager to get the spring kicked off and improve on what we did last fall," Homan said. "Last February, we took five players to the Gator Invitational that had never played there. This year we have three of those guys going back and that experience is important."
State will be featuring its sixth different lineup this season with a couple of guys making their debut. Senior Evan Hugall will be competing in his first tournament since last season's SEC Championship appearance. Sophomore John Darden will also be making his debut this season at the Gator Invitational but did compete in last season's Gator Invitational.
Also active for the Maroon and White, junior Lee Heaton will be competing in his fourth-straight tournament for MSU and is making consecutive Gator Invitational appearances. Bulldog sophomore Robi Calvesbert returns to State's lineup and was the Bulldogs leader in the Gator Invitational last season with a top 25 individual finish. Junior transfer Alex Rowland is playing in his fourth tournament this season for MSU and rounds out the Bulldog lineup.
State will tee off on Sat., Feb. 12, and live stats will be available at www.mstateathletics.com.
Track & Field
STARKVILLE, Miss. - A return to action is on the agenda for Mississippi State's indoor track dogs, as they travel to College Station, Texas, to take on SEC foes Alabama and Tennessee, as well as teams from the Big 12, PAC 10 and Conference USA. Action will get underway at noon and is scheduled to conclude at 6:30 pm.
"When we designed the schedule, we set out to make each week harder than the next," coach Steve Dudley said. "Kentucky was a tough meet, and Texas A&M will be even tougher. It takes that constant testing of yourself to get you ready for greatness."
Looking to competition at Texas A&M, Dudley says the goal is certainly end on top, but also to simply be better than last time.
"Our goal is always to be better than we were yesterday. We want to improve with each meet, and in the end our goal is to find our way to the top," Dudley said.
Upon return from College Station, MSU will spend the next two weeks preparing for the Championship slate of their schedule. The Bulldogs' first Championship stop will be in Fayetteville, Ark., for the SEC Championships on Feb. 25th.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - In their home opening match, freshmen Roseline Dion and Vivian Pietraroia picked up their first dual-match wins as Lady Bulldogs while the MSU's women's tennis team dropped a 4-2 decision to the Georgia State Lady Panthers Friday evening.
"We have to give credit to Georgia State for their effort today," said MSU head coach Daryl Greenan. "We did not take advantage of some opportunities and hopefully we will correct those mistakes this week."
The Lady Panthers jumped out to an early start in singles play as they grabbed a quick 2-0 lead. Playing in the second position, Lady Bulldog junior Mariia Ryzhova fell 6-1, 7-5 to Georgia State's Abigail Tere-Apisah. At the top spot again for MSU was rookie Alexandra Perper. Perper battled Tereza Lerova of the Lady Panthers through three sets but eventually fell 7-5, 2-6, 6-2.
On court 3, Lady Bulldog sophomore Danielle Terpko took a swift 6-3 lead. However, Georgia State's Katerina Gresova proved too much as she took the remaining sets and defeated Terpko 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.
After an early Fall injury, MSU junior Olesya Tsigvintseva finally returned to the courts where she battled Maryna Kozachenko of the Lady Panthers in the No. 4 spot. The first set was a hard fought bout as Kozachenko outlasted Tsigvintseva 7-6(4). Unfortunately, Tsigvintseva was unable to gain any momentum as Kozachenko clinched the match for Georgia State 7-6(4), 6-1.
Following the match clincher on court 4, the final two singles matches were decided in a pro-set. Lady Bulldog Roseline Dion took the match at the fifth position as she ousted Kir Kemp of Georgia State 8-2. Mississippi State's Vivian Pietraroia took down Lady Panther Othilia Lindquist 8-5 at the No. 6 spot.
No doubles matches were played due to a victor being decided in singles play.
Mississippi State will be back in action on Saturday February 19, and Sunday February 20, as they play host to Southern Miss. and Troy State respectively. Match times are both slated for 1 p.m. CT.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - This Saturday and Sunday the 32-ranked Mississippi State men's tennis team will play host to the Tulane Green Wave and UAB Blazers at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre on MSU's campus. The matches will be played at 1 p.m. and admission is free to all MSU home tennis matches.
The Bulldogs (1-3) are having a quick turnaround by facing the Green Wave (4-1) following Thursday's 4-1 setback in the River Hills Cup versus in-state rival and No. 17 nationally ranked Ole Miss. The Green Wave last played on Feb. 5 in a 5-2 win over Florida A&M. UAB will be playing their first match of the season after having to postpone a pair of matches earlier this year.
Not only is this MSU's home opener but this will be the first road test for Tulane this season. The Bulldogs are 3-0 in home openers in the Per Nilsson era and have won seven-straight home openers with their last lost coming against No. 3 Baylor on Jan. 25, 2003. In the all-time series between MSU and Tulane, State holds a 9- 6 advantage and are 5-1 in home matches against the Green Wave. Against the Blazers, the Bulldogs own a 25- 1 all-time advantage.
Bulldog junior Artem Ilyusin is coming off an impressive come-from-behind victory at the River Hills Cup over Ole Miss' Kalle Norberg at the No. 2 position. Ilyushin is now one win shy of the 40th of his career. 60thranked Louis Cant of MSU recently had his four-match win streak snapped but is still an impressive 4-1 this spring season. The Maroon and White boast two nationally ranked doubles tandems with George Coupland and Zach White standing 45th nationally and Coupland and Ilyushin ranked 53rd.
The Green Wave are led in victories by Joe Young who is an impressive 13-3 this season, a perfect 5-0 in dual match action and has won seven-straight. Tulane's Radu Ionescu is also 5-0 in dual matches this year. In doubles the Green Wave are led by Ionescu and Idan Mark who are a perfect 4-0 this year.
Both matches on Saturday and Sunday will begin at 1 p.m. CT at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre. Admission is free to all MSU home tennis matches and live stats will be made available at www.mstateathletics.com.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State baseball picked up seven more TV dates for the 2011 season Friday, all part of an unprecedented 54-game regular season Southeastern Conference television schedule announced by the league.
Games added to MSU's TV schedule include Florida at MSU (Apr. 9, 12 p.m.-Comcast), MSU at Arkansas (Apr. 15, 7 p.m.-SportSouth), MSU vs. Ole Miss in Pearl, Miss. (Apr. 19, 6:30 p.m.-Comcast), Alabama at MSU (Apr. 30, 2 p.m.-SportSouth), MSU at Ole Miss (May 13, 7 p.m.-SportSouth), MSU at Ole Miss (May 14, 7 p.m.-SportSouth), and LSU at MSU (May 19-6 p.m.-Comcast). Additional TV games not included in the SEC TV package could also be announced.
SportSouth is televising the first game of a rare Saturday SEC doubleheader between MSU and Alabama Apr. 30 at Dudy Noble Field. The twinbill was necessitated by Friday graduation ceremonies scheduled that weekend at Humphrey Coliseum. It's the first scheduled SEC doubleheader at Dudy Noble Field since 1993.
Earlier this year the SEC announced that two MSU games --- South Carolina at MSU (Apr. 22-7 p.m.) and MSU at Ole Miss (May 12-6:30 p.m.) were included in the SEC's 18-game television package with ESPN and will be shown on ESPNU.
"The success and popularity of baseball in our conference is at an all-time high," said SEC Commissioner Mike Slive. "We are proud to be able to offer this kind of unprecedented exposure to both our teams and our fans."
The league's television package with ESPN, in year two of a 15-year agreement, is derived from broadcasts on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, FOX Sports Net, SportSouth, Comcast Sports Southeast and Cox Sports Television. The SEC's 2010 TV lineup featured 46 games.
"This package moves our baseball exposure to new levels," SEC Consultant for Television Larry Templeton stated. "Baseball in this league will now have viewership increased to heights only seen previously during the College World Series. Fans of SEC Baseball will be able to follow the entire season like never before."
All games played in the SEC Tournament May 25-29 at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala., will also be televised. Three late-season SEC wildcard games (May 13-ESPNU, May 20-Comcast, and May 21-Comcast), with opponents to be announced, are also on the conference TV slate.
MSU appeared in 12 televised games in 2010.
The Bulldogs open their 121st season of baseball next weekend, hosting Akron and Lamar in a three-day, six-game, double round-robin event. Friday's MSU-Akron game, with a 4 p.m. start, launches a season-opening run of 14 consecutive games at Dudy Noble Field, Polk-DeMent Stadium.