Ranked 16th nationally this week in the Associated Press Top 25 poll and 17th in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll, the Bulldogs sport a current six-game winning streak after recording a 71-61 neutral-site victory over then-11th ranked Xavier this past Saturday at New York's Madison Square Garden. MSU has now knocked off four straight nationally ranked opponents dating back to last year's regular season.
As a team, Mississippi State enters the week atop the SEC statistical leaderboard in both scoring offense (82.4 ppg) and scoring margin (+22.1 ppg), while also ranking fourth in field-goal percentage (49.1%). Defensively, the Bulldogs lead the way in field-goal percentage defense (36.3%), rebounding (43.7 rpg), steals (11.9 spg) and turnover margin (+4.00), in addition to rating second in rebounding margin (+12.0 rpg) and third in scoring defense (60.3 ppg).
Individually, junior all-America candidate Mario Austin headlines the Bulldogs after earning SEC Player of the Week and several national honors with his 28-point, nine-rebound season debut performance in State's 10-point triumph over Xavier Saturday in New York City. Fellow junior Timmy Bowers presently ranks among the league's Top-10 leaders in five different categories, including pacing the SEC in steals (3.1 spg) and standing sixth in scoring (18.1 ppg). Seniors Michal Ignerski and Derrick Zimmerman are contributing 11.7 and 9.4 points per game, respectively.
Picked this preseason to win the Atlantic Sun Conference's North Division, Georgia State brings an even 3-3 record to Jackson after dropping an 81-68 decision at South Alabama this past Saturday. The Panthers have also fallen to Alabama State at home in overtime, 82-77, and at Auburn, 100-71. Guided by the venerable Charles "Lefty" Driesell, in his 41st season overall as head coach and sixth year at GSU, the Panthers are led in scoring (19.7 ppg), rebounding (8.3 rpg), assists (3.5 apg), steals (1.5 spg) and blocks (1.3 bpg) by junior forward Nate Williams. Junior guard Lamont McIntosh adds 14.3 points an outing and shoots 47 percent from three-point range.
A year ago at Atlanta's Philips Arena, the Bulldogs claimed a 72-63 win over Georgia State in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Classic for Kids.