First Look at MSU

The Mississippi State Bulldogs (22-10) and the Oregon Ducks (18-13) will meet on Friday, March 21 in Little Rock, Ark., in the first round of the South Region Bracket of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

This will be the first time the two teams have never met each on the basketball court before and in fact, there were no common opponents that the two teams played this year. MSU did lose to Miami (OH) 67-60 on Nov. 25, 2007 at the Anaheim Convention Center; the Ducks beat the Redhawks last year at Spokane in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The contest on Friday will be the second straight year the Ducks have faced a SEC opponent in March Madness.

MSU is led in scoring by junior Jamont Gordon, 6-4, 230, at 17.3 points per game. Gordon is a former Parade All-American in 2004-05 from Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia. He was a 4-star shooting guard who chose MSU over Tennessee and was a unanimous choice to the 2005-06 SEC All-Freshman team. He also led his team this year in assists (4.8 per game) and turnovers (4.03). Gordon is a 31 percent shooter from outside the 3-point line on 56-of-173 attempts.

Senior center/forward Charles Rhodes, 6-8, 245 is the second leading team scorer at a 16.9-points per game average. Rhodes is second leading rebounder at 7.68 boards per contest. The leading rebounder is sophomore center/forward Jarvis Varnado (6-9, 210) at 7.9 rebounds. Varnado also blocked an impressive 148-shots or 4.62 per game.

The Bulldogs also have two other players scoring in double figures this year. Sophomore guard Barry Stewart (6-2, 170) at 11.5 points including shooting 33.7 percent in 3-pointers on 58-of-172 and sophomore guard Ben Hansbrough (6-3, 205) scored 10.4 points in 28 games including 59-of-165 (.358) in 3s.

For the year MSU scored just under 74 points per contest and allowed slightly more than 65 points.

According to the database Rhodes was also a 4-star recruit out of Lanier Senior HS in Jackson Miss, as was Varnado, from Haywood HS in Brownsville, Texas.

Tipoff for Friday's game is scheduled for 6:25 p.m. CDT (4:25 p.m. PDT) and will be broadcast live on CBS.

Game Chat will also follow the game starting at 4:20 PDT for subscribers.

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