BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Coach Rick Stansbury's Mississippi State Bulldogs have been picked to finish second in the SEC's Western Division in a preseason voting of a select panel of both SEC and national media members. The announcement was made Tuesday by the SEC office headquartered in Birmingham.
Individually for the defending SEC Western Division co-champions, junior all-America candidate Jamont Gordon was named preseason first-team all-SEC, including receiving two votes for the SEC Men's Basketball Player of the Year honor. Senior forward Charles Rhodes, a two-time, second-team all-SEC performer for State, has been picked this preseason as a second-team all-league selection.
Returning seven lettermen from last year's 21-14 club that advanced to the MasterCard NIT Semifinals, the Bulldogs received 148 points in the preseason voting, including 10 first-place votes and a pair of votes as overall SEC Champion. In the West, Arkansas grabbed first-place honors with 168 total points and 18 first-place votes. Along with being predicted to win its ninth Southeastern Conference men's basketball championship, Tennessee was a unanimous choice to win the East with 180 total points (30 first-place votes), ahead of second-place Kentucky's 142 points.
Tennessee senior guard Chris Lofton was the overwhelming choice of the media for SEC Men's Basketball Player of the Year with 27 votes. Joining Lofton and Gordon on the All-SEC First Team were Alabama junior forward Richard Hendrix, Arkansas sophomore guard Patrick Beverley, and Vanderbilt senior guard/forward Shan Foster.
Along with MSU's Rhodes, the Preseason All-SEC Second Team was comprised of Arkansas senior center Steven Hill, LSU junior forward Tasmin Mitchell, Ole Miss senior center Dwayne Curtis, and Tennessee sophomore forward Tyler Smith.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State women's soccer team (6-9-1, 2-5-1 Southeastern Conference) closes out the 2007 home schedule on Thursday evening, hosting the Kentucky Wildcats in a 7p.m. contest from the MSU Soccer Field. Admission is free.
State will honor three seniors Thursday night. Treena Ferguson, Jessica Davis and Stephanie Dallas will all be playing in their final game as Bulldogs.
As the defending Southeastern Conference tournament champion, Kentucky enters Thursday's game 7-6-3 on the year and 1-6-1 in conference play. This past weekend, the Wildcats defeated Arkansas, 2-1, on Friday night and ended tied at 1-1 with LSU on Sunday afternoon.
The leading scorers for the Wildcats are Laura Novikoff and Alicia Browning, who each have four goals on the year. Callie Lanphier leads the team with nine points with three goals and three assists on the year. Goalkeepers Laura Baker and Sydney Hiance have both seen time this season with Hiance seeing the majority of action (12 games).
The Wildcats opened their year with a tie before rattling off six consecutive wins. Friday's win against Arkansas snapped a six-game losing streak for UK.
MSU battled for its biggest win of the season on Oct. 19, defeating 17th-ranked Georgia, 1-0, at the UGA Soccer Field in Athens. With nine shots on the evening, the lone shot on goal came from sophomore Katelyn Graben at 80:59. The goal was unassisted and the Gulfport, Miss.-native's fourth of the season.
State dropped a 4-0 decision to the 11th-ranked University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers on Oct. 21 at the Regal Soccer Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn.
Kentucky leads the overall series, 6-2-0 with MSU's wins coming during the 2001 and 2004 campaigns. Last season, the Wildcats won 0-3 in Lexington.
Following Thursday's game, the Bulldogs travel to Vanderbilt on Sunday to face the Commodores in a 2 p.m. contest from the VU Soccer Complex.
FRANKLIN, Tenn. - The Mississippi State men's golf team finished second at the Mason Rudolph Invitational after inclement weather forced the cancellation of the final two-round at the par-71 Roper's Knob Course. Originally formatted as a 54-hole event, the Invitational was recorded as a one-round tournament due to the cancellation.
On Sunday, the Bulldogs shot an even-par, 284, to put them at second place, one-stroke behind the leader, Mississippi. Playing with an all-junior cast, MSU's Noah Goldman led the way with a 2-under par, 69, performance to finish in a tie for third in the individual standings. Matt Fast finished one-stroke shy of Goldman, notching a 70, to finish in a tie for ninth. Carlos Sainz, Jr., Logan Young and Josh Bevell rounded out the Bulldogs play with a score of 72, 73 and 74. Sainz, Jr., Young and Bevell have competed in all MState's tournaments this fall.
Rounding off the top five, South Alabama finished two strokes behind MSU for third place followed by a tie for fourth place between host-school Vanderbilt and Louisville, who finished three-over par.
MSU was able to finish three-to-six holes of play on Monday before suspending the round that eventually was canceled on Tuesday due to unplayable conditions caused from the inclement weather.
The Bulldogs will complete their fall season this Monday at Greensboro, N.C., at the UNCG Bridgestone Collegiate Championship.