*The Bulldogs have been ranked now for 12-straight weeks, and just moved back into the A.P. top-twenty after slipping to #22 last week. Their highest A.P. ranking so far is #15.
*This is State's first round-two game of SEC season, having played at Oxford back on January 18.
*The Dogs are used to playing and winning the close games. Their five SEC victories have been by just over a three-point margin of victory; in fact the last one against Auburn was by that score. The three league losses have been by 9.7 points.
*Rick Stansbury is 20-8 against Ole Miss, his most wins against any opponent. He had a five-game win streak snapped in January, though. The MSU coach has 290 career wins and ranks 9th on the SEC list needing 297 to tie for 7th place.
*Ole Miss last won in Humphrey Coliseum in 2009. State leads the all-time series 138-106, the most wins over any opponent.
The Last Time: The Bulldogs took a three-year win streak to Smith Coliseum…and lost it. A Rebel team still adjusting to dismissal of leading scorer guard Dundrecous Nelson defended their home court quite well as big forward Reg Buckner took charge. Having been held to only eight points in two meetings with MSU in 2010, Buckner muscled for 19 this time on 8-of-10 shooting. Much of his accuracy was due to easy putbacks after tough rebounds as he whipped State's frontcourt straight-up for 15 boards. But he also missed seven of ten free throws which left the Bulldogs a late chance. Early on Ole Miss was hot while State was not, shooting 1-of-10, and the Dogs gave up aggressive moves to UM guards Jarvis Summers and Nick Williams. Three-point goals caught MSU up as Dee Bost, Jalen Steele, and Rodney Hood made UM pay when they zoned or were late in coverage. But despite scoring 27 points between them with 21 rebounds, Dog big men Arnett Moultrie and Renardo Sidney were unable to stop Buckner, Terrence Henry, and a rolling rotation of Rebel frontcourters. Not only did Henry score a dozen but used his 6-9 length to harass Bulldog guard Bost on the perimeter, just enough to disrupt MSU's offense every time a comeback developed. Rushed shots by Bost (4-of-15) didn't help, though he had six assists when passing it off. He finished with 15 and Hood with 13 before fouling out. Williams had 17 points and Summers 12 as both sides featured four double-digit scorers. State had ten three-point goals to just four for the home team—outside shooting remains Ole Miss' great weakness--but the Rebels not only had a few more total rebounds; they dominated the second-chance points for their means and margin of victory.
Projected Starting Lineups:
OLE MISS: F Terrance Henry, SR 6-9 210, 12.2ppg, 4.8rpg, 48%fgs; F Reginald Buckner, JR 6-9 225, 6.9ppg, 8.5rpg, 55%fgs, 51 blks; F/C Murphy Holloway, JR 6-7 240, 10.3ppg, 9.4rpg, 54%fgs; G Jarvis Summers, FR 6-4 184, 9.9ppg, 3.3apg, 22 3ptrs; G Nick Williams, JR 6-4 210, 10.4ppg, 3.7rpg, 22 3ptrs.
Top Reserves: C Demarco Cox, SO 6-8 280, 3.6ppg, 3.6rpg; G Maurice Aniefolk, FR 6-5 205, 1.9ppg, 1.0rpg.
MISSISSIPPI STATE: F Rodney Hood, FR 6-8 200, 11.3ppg, 5.0rpg, 35 3ptrs; F Arnett Moultrie, JR 6-11 249, 17.0ppg, 11.1rpg, 56%fgs; C Renardo Sidney, JR 6-10 285, 10.2ppg, 4.9rpg, 53%fgs; G Dee Bost, SR 6-2 175, 15.8ppg, 109 asts, 50 3ptrs; G Brian Bryant, SR 6-3 168, 7.1ppg, 4.8rpg, 44 asts.
Top Backups: G Jalen Steele, SO 6-3 195, 7.9ppg, 43 3ptrs; C Wendell Lewis, SO 6-8 253, 4.3ppg, 4.1rpg, 23 blks.
HOW THEY COMPARE:
Scoring: MSU 73.8, OM 66.2
Scoring Defense: MSU 66.7, OM 64.2
FG Shooting: MSU 46.5%, OM 42.8%
FG Defense: MSU 43.0%, OM 39.5%
3-Point Shooting: MSU 36.85, OM 29.6%
3-point Attempts PG: MSU 19.0, OM 15.4
Rebounding: MSU 37.0, OM 39.9
Rebound Margin: MSU +3.8, OM +5.0
Free Throw Shooting: MSU 69.7%, OM 59.9%
Turnovers: MSU -0.4, OM -2.1
BULLDOG NOTES: *Three Bulldogs—Dee Bost, Rodney Hood, and Arnett Moultrie—come in this week 1-2-3 for minutes played in SEC stats.
*State is trying to create some break for those Dogs and other starters. Seven players accounted for all but three of the 625 minutes played in a three-game stretch; then last week against Auburn G Shaun Smith (7) and reserve C Roquez Johnson (1) gave at least some relief to the regulars.
*The Bulldogs are only middling in SEC perimeter defense at 34% allowed. But Ole Miss shoots under 30% at the arc and has only two-thirds of the treys MSU has made.
*Oddly, State had been sputtering with the long shots on their own court making just 28% at home (42% on the road!) in SEC play through the first three games. Then the Dogs found the range against Auburn going 12-of-19.
*The Bulldogs are second-best in SEC assist-to-turnover rate behind only Florida.
*PF Arnett Moultrie is one of two league players averaging a double-double along with Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis. Moultrie has 13 D-Ds out of his 20 games played. *Moultrie ranks 4th in overall SEC scoring this week and second in shooting. But he's a clear league leader in rebounding at 11.1 boards. And he has the second-most offensive rebounds of anyone.
*Moultrie has scored 340 points so far at State, giving him 990 career markers and opportunity to break 1,000 Thursday night. Moultrie has 744 career rebounds including those two seasons at UTEP.
*Moultrie has averaged just under 22 points in State's SEC wins; 10.3 in losses.
*At one point Moultrie was approaching 90% for free throws, then he went 26-of-40 in a six-game run. A week's rest might have helped him go 7-of-11 against Auburn.
*PG Dee Bost has found his shooting touch again. In the last two games the senior is 8-of-13 overall and 6-of-10 at the arc.
*But he's also become more turnover-prone lately with 15 giveaways in the last four games, against 25 assists.
*When Bost fouled-out against Auburn, it was his first time to draw five personals since the 2009-10 opener against Rider; a 68-game stretch.
*Just the fourth Bulldog with 200 career treys, Bost now has made 212. He needs 258 for third place.
*Bost now has 1,484 points and in the last two weeks has jumped to 11th place all-time. He needs seven points to catch Tony Watts for 10th place.
*And he is all alone atop the assists column with 559 in 112 career games.
*Bost is third in MSU career steals with 175, and second this week in SEC average at 2.1 per game.
*Bost has started every game played in his four State seasons.
*In a three-game stretch C Renardo Sidney was shooting 7-of-25 overall. He was more selective against Auburn and went 5-of-5 from the field.
*Sidney hasn't gotten over three fouls for the last three games now, and has not fouled-out all SEC season.
*Of course this cautious approach has limited his blocked shot chances, with just two swats since New Years Day. And his rebounding average has taken a hit as well.
*G Jalen Steele has been on a three-point tear the last five games, making 16 of 29 tries from the arc.
*In SEC play, Steele has taken 42 trey-tries out of his 53 total shots.
*Steele's job as a set-shooter is pretty basic, and he has just one assist and six rebounds in the last eight games.
*This does keep him from drawing many fouls though, and State wants Steele at the foul line because he is 6-of-6 there in SEC season.
*SF Rodney Hood has found his offensive niche in SEC play. Half his shots in league games are at the arc, and he has made at least one trey in the last five contests while making 8-of-21.
*What Hood has really picked up for the thin backcourt is some of the assists load, with 13 scoring passes the last five games.
*G Bryan Bryant was struggling with 6-of-22 shooting in a four-game stretch. But the last three times out he is 9-of-13. And he scored his first trey since December 28 when he hit for three at Florida.
*C Wendell Lewis continues to put in big minutes with small points off the bench. He has 13 points for SEC season. Of course the junior has taken just 14 shots in these eight games.
*Lewis has a team-best 23 blocks as the backup postman.