March 13, 2009

South Carolina Preview

With defending champion now out of the way, Mississippi State moves on to the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament against South Carolina.

The Bulldogs took down Georgia 79-60 on Thursday to improve to 20-12 on the season and 10-7 in league play. South Carolina received an opening round bye after receiving the No. 2 seed out of the Eastern Division. The two teams will meet at 2:15 p.m. CST from the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Fla.

"(South Carolina) is a tremendous team," said MSU head coach Rick Stansbury. "They've got size on the inside. They've got some guys that can shoot the basketball. But (Devin) Downey absolutely is the difference. They you have (Zam) Frederick out there who is a guy who can really put it on the floor and shoot the basketball too. So they're a difficult matchup for us."

The Bulldogs hold the series advantage against South Carolina 12-8 including a 75-70 win on Feb. 18 in Starkville. However, State is 0-2 against the Gamecocks in the SEC Tournament. The Bulldogs are 22-46 all-time in the tournament.

Mississippi State is averaging 75.2 points per game and shooting 43.9-percent from the floor this season. The Bulldogs are also knocking down 36.8-percent of their 3-point attempts and 71.1-percent from the free throw line. They average a league-best 7.5 blocks per game and hold their opponents to 69.4 points on average.

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