Gene Swindoll, Gene's Page

State Releases Non-SEC Slate; Four-Year Deal with Eagles Contracted

That annual December trip to Jackson had lost its luster in recent years. But Bulldog basketball is giving fans a reason to come back to the Mississippi Coliseum this winter. And the next, and the next, and…

Mississippi State will take on Southern Mississippi in the Coliseum on December 19. It is the first time the in-state programs have met since 2001, when the Bulldogs won a first-round NIT game over the Eagles.

This resumption of the rivalry, which State leads 14-4, also begins a four-season series. All games are booked for the capital city venue.

“I’m really excited about adding Southern Miss for four years,” second-year Bulldog Coach Ben Howland said in a provided statement. “It will be a great game both fan bases will look forward to in Jackson and the type that will create a lot of buzz statewide. It’s great that both schools agreed to renew this series.”

Word of the four-game deal broke last week but was not confirmed by Mississippi State until Tuesday. It came in release of the full pre-conference slate, which opens November 11. That game, with Norfolk State, is one of eight home contests in Humphrey Coliseum in November and December.

The higher-profile home games are returns. State hosts Oregon State on December 1, and Missouri-Kansas City on December 29.

But three of the four road games come up immediately, as Mississippi State participates in the Charleston (S.C.) Classic. Howland’s second team gets some serious early tests as they are in a field headlined by defending national champions Villanova as well as Wake Forest, UTEP, Central Florida, Boise State, Western Michigan, and host school College of Charleston.

“I feel we have put together a quality schedule that will get us ready for SEC play,” Howland said. “We certainly face a challenge in Charleston, with the likes of Villanova and Wake Forest.”

The SEC schedule is expected to be provided to Mississippi State and announced in October.

Nov 11 Norfolk State; Nov 17-18-20 Charleston Classic; Nov 25 Lehigh; Nov 28 Northwestern (La) State; Dec 1 Oregon State; Dec 4 Georgia State; Dec 14 East Tennessee State; Dec 19 Southern Mississippi in Jackson; Dec 22 Morehead State; Dec 29 Missouri-Kansas City.

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