MSU's self-proclaimed "road warriors" are now undefeated in nine true road contests on the season to rate tied for third nationally among the winningest road teams in NCAA Division I play. Third-ranked and undefeated Saint Joseph's is 12-0 on the road, while East Tennessee State currently ranks second nationally with 10 road wins (in 13 road decisions). With five SEC wins away from home and four non-conference road triumphs on the year, MSU's nine true road wins this season mark the most by a State squad since going 9-1 on the road in 1961-62, when coach Babe McCarthy's team finished the year 24-1 overall and 13-1 in SEC play.
During their current seven-game SEC winning streak - their longest such string in regular-season play since 1962-63 - the Bulldogs have risen to the top or near the top in several team statistical categories. For all games, Mississippi State enters the weekend ranked second in scoring offense (76.0 ppg), scoring margin (+12.4 ppg) and field-goal percentage (47.0%). Defensively, MSU leads the league for all games in rebounding offense (40.2 rpg), rebounding margin (+6.7 rpg) and steals (10.2 spg). State also ranks first or second in all six of the aforementioned categories for conference games only as well.
Individually, the Bulldogs continue to get well-balanced scoring throughout their starting lineup, as all five starters average between 7.1 and 17.1 points per game on the season. MSU has had at least four double-digit scorers in all seven contests during the team's current seven-game SEC win string, including all five starters finishing in double figures earlier in the week at South Carolina. Leading the way at 17.1 points per outing to rank sixth in the SEC, all-America candidate Lawrence Roberts is coming off back-to-back, 20-point efforts (20 at USC & 24 vs. Ole Miss last Saturday) for the first time this season. Also ranked second in the league in rebounding (9.9 rpg), the SEC Player of the Year candidate is bidding to become the first State player since Rickey Brown (1979-80) to average a double-double an entire season.
Also contending for All-Star accolades as a senior co-captain, guard Timmy Bowers rates as the conference's No. 10 scorer (15.6 ppg) and third-best playmaker (4.3 apg). Ranking fourth in the SEC in made 3-pointers per game (2.4 treys/gm), Bowers hit a clutch, game-tying triple to send Wednesday's contest at South Carolina into overtime. His backcourt mate, junior Winsome Frazier, who also came up big with nine key points during MSU's momentum-swinging 14-2 second-half spurt earlier in the week at USC, averages 12.4 points per game and leads the SEC in steals (2.9 spg).
In his second season at the Arkansas helm, coach Stan Heath's youthful Razorback contingent is 11-10 overall and 3-7 in SEC play after dropping a pair of road decisions (69-65 at Tennessee and 65-52 at LSU) within the past week. Having won three straight SEC home games (Mississippi, Vanderbilt and Auburn), Arkansas is led in scoring by sophomore forward Jonathon Modica at 16.2 points per contest. Freshman guard Ronnie Brewer follows at 12.6 points an outing and adds team highs of 5.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists a game.