West Virginia (4-1) at #21 Mississippi State (7-1): Saturday, Dec 3, 2011

December 2, 2011

News, Sports

Rodney Hood, G, Mississippi State

Rodney Hood, SF, Mississippi State

Location: Starkville, Mississippi (Humphrey Coliseum)

Time: 8pm Central


Radio: WFCA 107.9, French Camp Radio

Listen Online: http://tunein.com/radio/WFCA-1079-s28690/

Initial Analysis: The Rick Stansbury-led Mississippi State Bulldogs are having one of their better seasons under Stansbury. They have finally put all the pieces together after years of turmoil. They are 7-1 on the season, with the lone loss coming to the Akron Zips. The Bulldogs have a huge test ahead of them, as they face the West Virginia Mountaineers in the Big East/SEC challenge. The Mountaineers are led by Kevin Jones, who is averaging a double-double on the season. The two teams are very evenly matched, with solid guard play and good players down low.  A victory in this game could catapult both teams toward a strong finish to their non-conference schedule.

Team Stats

West Virginia

2011-2012 Scoring Per Game: 79.0

2011-2012 Field Goal Percentage: .486

2011-2012 3 Point Percentage: .309

2011-2012 Rebounds Per Game: 41.6

2011-2012 Blocks Per Game: 3.4

2011-2012 Steals Per Game: 9.6

2011-2012 Assist Per Game: 17.0

Mississippi State

2011-2012 Scoring Per Game: 72.3

2011-2012 Field Goal Percentage: .463

2011-2012 3 Point Percentage: .333

2011-2012 Rebounds Per Game: 38.9

2011-2012 Blocks Per Game: 4.3

2011-2012 Steals Per Game: 7.5

2011-2012 Assist Per Game: 12.1

Projected Line-Ups

West Virginia

C: Kevin Jones, 6’8 260

PF: Deniz Kilicli, 6’9 260

SF: Keaton Miles, 6’6 205

SG: Darryl Bryant, 6’2 195

PG: Jabarie Hinds, 5’11 175

Key Reserves: Gary Browne, Aaron Brown, Kevin Noreen

Team Leaders

Points Per Game: Jones, 21.0

Rebounds Per Game: Jones, 12.2

Blocks Per Game: Jones, 1.4

Steals Per Game: Hinds, 3.2

Assist Per Game: Hinds and Browne, 4.25

Mississippi State

C: Renardo Sidney, 6’10 285

PF: Arnett Moultrie, 6’11 245

SF: Rodney Hood, 6’8 204

SG: Brian Bryant, 6’3 158

PG: Dee Bost, 6’2 176

Key Reserves: Deville Smith, Wendell Lewis, Jalen Steele

Team Leaders

Points Per Game: Bost, 17.0

Rebounds Per Game: Moultrie, 10.8

Blocks Per Game: Bryant, .875

Steals Per Game: Bost, 2.5

Assist Per Game: Bost, 3.75

Player To Watch

West Virginia

Kevin Jones: Jones is the star player for the Mountaineers. He leads them in scoring, rebounding, and blocked shots. He is not the standard back-to-the-basket big man. He will look to pull the Bulldogs big men out of the paint. The Mountaineers will need a big day from him, if they hope to win.

Mississippi State

Rodney Hood:  The freshman phenom has lived up to his recruiting ranking so far this season. He has been more of a role player, but the West Virginia game may present him with an opportunity to step into a starring role. The Mountaineers have a small backcourt and Hood could take advantage of the size difference.

Three Keys To Victory

West Virginia

Play High Tempo when Sidney In: Sidney has struggled in transition all season. The Mountaineers need to speed it up to take advantage of his poor transition defense.

Get Kevin Jones Involved Early: Jones is the best player for the Mountaineers, and they must get him involved in the game plan early.

Double Sidney: The Mountaineers don’t have a player that matches up with Sidney and will need to double down on him, or he will have huge day.

Mississippi State

Control Tempo: The Bulldogs are going to have to control the tempo to win this game. The Mountaineers will try to get out in transition, and the Bulldogs must prevent that from happening. They must slow it down to take advantage of their size in the post.

Play Man: The Bulldogs are more physically talented than the Mountaineers, and they must play man to impose their will on them.

Feed The Beast: Sidney is a matchup nightmare for West Virginia and he must be fed down low.

Final Analysis: This is the type of matchup that last year, I would have without hesitation picked West Virginia. The Bulldogs are playing well though, and Stansbury has the team playing with better efficiency than in years past. The Bulldogs will have to bring their A game, but they should pull it out in the end.

My Prediction: 70-65, Mississippi State


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