Two Top 15 Teams Clash In Dallas Wednesday

STARKVILLE, Miss. – In what is being billed as one of the biggest games in all of college basketball this week, No. 15 Mississippi State travels to Dallas on Wednesday to face No. 6 and undefeated Baylor in The Showcase at American Airlines Center.

Tip is set for 8 p.m., and the game will be televised on ESPN2. At 5:30 p.m., The Showcase gets underway with Oklahoma State battling SMU.

"It's very obvious we're going to play one of the better teams in the country," said 14th-year MSU coach Rick Stansbury, whose team is also ranked No. 14 in this week's ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. "Scott (Drew) has done a terrific job with them and has them playing at a very high level. This will be, no question, our most difficult challenge of the season."

The Bulldogs are 12-1 overall and winners of 11 straight following last Thursday's 82-67 win against Northwestern State in Jackson, Miss., where junior forward Arnett Moultrie recorded his SEC-leading seventh double-double with 24 points and 14 rebounds.

On the year, he leads MSU in scoring with his 17.8 clip and is tops in the SEC and 6th nationally in rebounding at 11.7.

"I knew coming out of UTEP he was an outstanding player," Drew said. "I think he's gone to another level."

So have the Bears.

They are 12-0 on the year, which matches the best start in school history. Their most recent outing resulted in an 83-81 overtime victory against West Virginia in the finals of the Las Vegas Classic.

In that game, Pierre Jackson paced Baylor with 23 points, while Brady Heslip added 19, followed by Quincy Acy with 15.

"They don't have many weaknesses right now at all," Stansbury said.

Wednesday marks the 6th meeting between the two programs, with MSU holding a 5-0 advantage. However, the two haven't meet since the 1990 NIT, with the Bulldogs claiming an 84-75 victory in Starkville.

"It's going to be a great matchup," Drew said. "Both are athletic. Both are very long and talented. I think you are going to see a lot of great plays."

After Wednesday, the Bulldogs are back in action at 2 p.m. on Dec. 31 against Utah State at Humphrey Coliseum. Tickets are being offered at a discounted rate of $5.

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