STARKVILLE, Miss. - Playing their second game in three days, the Bulldogs of Mississippi State (5-2) travel to Coral Gables, Fla., to take on the Miami Hurricanes (6-3) Monday night. Tip-off at UM's 7,000-seat BankUnited Center is set for 7 p.m. ET (6 p.m. CT), and the inter-conference battle between the SEC and ACC is slated to be televised live by FSN Florida.
With the contest scheduled to be aired live on FSN South within the state of Mississippi, Frank Forte is set to call the play-by-play action and Bob Wenzel is on tap to provide the color analysis of the third all-time hardwood meeting between the Bulldogs and Hurricanes. The game can also be heard on SIRIUS Satellite Radio Channel 143.
Coach Rick Stansbury's Bulldogs are 5-2 on the season after closing out a successful three-game homestand by claiming an 84-46 victory over South Alabama this past Saturday night. After dropping a 69-66 road decision at Clemson back on Nov. 21, MSU opened the recently completed homestand with wins over Charlotte (78-69) and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (96-72). Upon limiting South Alabama to only 30-percent field-goal shooting (19-63 FGs) and but 2-of-24 (8%) from beyond the three-point arc, MSU currently leads the SEC in three-point field-goal percentage defense (22.4%) and ranks second in overall field-goal percentage defense (35.2%). With Saturday's 38-point win over South Alabama, Stansbury moved into a tie for second place with Babe McCarthy on the school's all-time wins list with his 169th career victory as MSU's head coach.
Individually, MState is powered by the all-around game of preseason all-SEC sophomore guard/forward Jamont Gordon, who leads the Bulldogs and ranks among the league's top-10 leaders in scoring (16.3 ppg; 6th in SEC), rebounding (9.0 rpg; T-3rd) and assists (4.7 apg; 5th). Back in action after missing the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi contest due to a sprained right wrist, junior all-SEC forward Charles Rhodes is second on the club in both scoring (12.7 ppg) and rebounding (6.3 rpg). Bulldog freshmen guards Barry Stewart and Ben Hansbrough contribute 11.1 and 10.7 points per outing, respectively.
Guided by third-year head coach Frank Haith, the Miami Hurricanes are 6-3 for the year after posting a 79-58 home triumph over Lehigh this past Saturday. Picked in the preseason to finish 11th in the ACC race, UM opened conference play on Dec. 3 by upsetting then-No. 21 Georgia Tech, 90-82, in Coral Gables. The Hurricanes are paced by sophomore guard Jack McClinton, who averages a team-high 21.0 points per game in addition to shooting 56 percent from behind the three-point arc and 91 percent from the charity stripe. Sophomore forward Brian Asbury ranks second on the club in both scoring (12.1 ppg) and rebounding (5.9 rpg).
The Bulldogs and Hurricanes have split a pair of previous hardwood meetings through the years, with Miami most recently having prevailed over MSU, 74-67, in the consolation game of the 1990 Eastern Airlines Palm Beach Classic played in West Palm Beach, Fla.
State's busy pre-Christmas slate finds McNeese State and Alabama State coming to the MSU campus for Starkville contests on Saturday, Dec. 16 and Monday, Dec. 18, respectively. The Bulldogs will also take on New Orleans at Jackson's Mississippi Coliseum on Thursday, Dec. 21.