Arkansas (18-12) at Mississippi State (20-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 3, 5:00 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Humphrey Coliseum (10,575) -- Starkville, MI. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: ASU 17-4, Mississippi State 14-3. Away Record: ASU 1-8, Mississippi State 3-6. Neutral Record: ASU 0-0, Mississippi State 3-1. Conference Record: ASU 6-9, Mississippi State 7-8. Series Record: ASU leads, 28-24.
GAME NOTES: A pair of Southeastern Conference foes close out their respective regular season schedules this evening in Starkville, when the Bulldogs host the Arkansas Razorbacks at Humphrey Coliseum.
Arkansas looks to reach 19 wins for the first time since the 2006-07 season today, but the squad has fallen upon some tough times as of late. The Razorbacks have lost four of their last five, including a heartbreaking 77-75 final on Tuesday night against Ole Miss.
As for Mississippi State, the Bulldogs ended a month of frustration with a thrilling, 69-67 triumph in overtime at South Carolina on Wednesday night. The victory snapped a five-game losing streak, and marked the first time in school history that three players posted double-doubles in a single game. MSU now has 20 wins to show for its 2011-12 campaign, and a victory today would also ensure the first time that the Bulldogs do not close out a regular season with a sub .500 mark in SEC play.
ASU leads, 28-24, in terms of the all-time series between the two programs.
A layup from Terrance Henry with just eight seconds remaining gave Ole Miss a 76-75 lead, but Henry was fouled on the play as well and converted his one- chance at the stripe to give the Razorbacks' adversary a lead that they would not relinquish. The Razorbacks shot just 41.8 percent from the floor during the meeting, but did manage a respectable 9-of-22 mark from three-point range, and added 10-of-14 at the foul line as well. At the other end of the court, Arkansas forced a game-high 12 turnovers and held Ole Miss to just 42.6 percent from the floor, but the Razorbacks were dominated in the battle of the boards by a 44-35 margin. B.J. Young scored 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead the way for Arkansas in the losing effort, while Mardracus Wade and Julysses Nobles finished with 14 and 13 points, respectively. The Razorbacks average a respectable 69.5 points per game this season and have had plenty of success especially from beyond the arc (37.2 percent), but the problems have occurred at the other end of the court, where opponents have been allowed to net 74.9 ppg via a 48.3 percent shooting clip. The opposition also owns a substantial 37.2 - 29.7 edge on the glass, but ASU has managed to force 15.5 turnovers per contest, compared to 12.7 of their own miscues.
Brian Bryant buried a jumper at the buzzer, lifting the Bulldogs to the two- point overtime win against South Carolina. The Bulldogs shot an underwhelming 44.8 percent from the field during the meeting, hitting just 4-of-17 from beyond the arc in the process. The Bulldogs made up for it at the charity stripe though, where the squad converted 13-of-15 opportunities. Bryant scored 16 points in addition to his late-game heroics to pace the Bulldogs, while Arnett Moultrie finished with a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds. Dee Bost registered 13 points and passed out 11 assists, while Renardo Sidney logged 12 points to go with a game-high 14 boards. With a solid 45.6 percent shooting mark as a team, the Bulldogs are averaging a healthy 71.4 ppg this season. They are led, up to this point, by Moultrie, who posts 16.0 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. Bost follows (15.8 ppg), in addition to leading the club in assists with 157 dishes, while Rodney Hood checks in at 10.8 ppg. Sidney also owns a double-digit scoring average for the Bulldogs, chipping in 10.3 ppg to go with a 5.3 rpg tally. MSU has fared well enough at the other end of the court too, limiting the opposition to a 43.1 percent shooting clip that has yielded only 66.8 ppg. The Bulldogs have kept their adversaries in check from beyond the arc, to the tune of 35.0 percent, and also own a 36.5 - 33.6 rpg advantage.
MSU deserves the edge here, especially at home. The Razorbacks will make a go of things however, especially in an attempt to get a higher seed in the upcoming SEC Tournament. The Bulldogs play a bit tighter at the defensive end of the court however, so expect that stinginess to pay off late.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Mississippi State 73, Arkansas 69
03/03 10:43:53 ET