#23 Mississippi State Bulldogs (19-7) at Auburn Tigers (12-9) Preview: Bulldogs Look To End Losing Streak

#23 Mississippi State Bulldogs (19-7) at Auburn Tigers (12-9)

Location: Auburn, Alabama (Auburn Arena)

Time: 7 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports South, ESPN3, Direct TV 722

Initial Analysis

The Mississippi State Bulldogs are in the midst of a two-game slide. They will attempt to put an end to this losing streak, when they travel to face the Auburn Tigers. The Tigers will certainly do their best to upset the Bulldogs at home.

Team Breakdowns

Auburn

Coach: Tony Barbee

Big Wins: Ole Miss

The Tony Barbee-led Auburn Tigers are a team that is built around defense. They like to slow the game down and grind out victories. Their offense, outside of some solid guard play, is highly inefficient. The Tigers rarely score more than 70 points. The Tigers’ defense is pretty good, though, anchored by the shot-blocking of Kenny Gabriel, who is swatting 2.5 a game.

MSU

Coach: Rick Stansbury

Big Wins: Arizona, Alabama,Vanderbilt, West Virginia

The Rick Stansbury-led Bulldogs are built around the point guard play of Dee Bost and the inside game of Renardo Sidney and Arnett Moultrie. Offensively, the Bulldogs like to feed the ball inside to Renardo Sidney and Arnett Moultrie. Sidney has taken control, the past few games, and he is becoming more of an offensive focal point. Bost controls the offense and dictates the pace for the Bulldogs. Defensively, the Bulldogs are an average team. They play man-to-man defense and rarely play zone. The Bulldogs have the talent advantage over the Tigers.

Team Stats

Auburn

2011 Scoring Offense Per Game: 63.7

2011 Scoring Defense Per Game: 63.9

2011 Field Goal Percentage: 42.1

2011 3 Point Percentage: 31.6

2011 Rebounds Per Game: 35.5

2011 Blocks Per Game: 5.3

2011 Steals Per Game: 6.8

2011 Assist Per Game: 13.2

2011 Turnovers Per Game: 14.5

MSU

2011 Scoring Offense Per Game: 73.2

2011 Scoring Defense Per Game: 66.7

2011 Field Goal Percentage: 46.4

2011 3 Point Percentage: 36.6

2011 Rebounds Per Game: 37.2

2011 Blocks Per Game: 3.6

2011 Steals Per Game: 6.2

2011 Assist Per Game: 13.0

2011 Turnovers Per Game: 12.1

Projected Line-Ups

Auburn

C: Rob Chubb 8.8 ppg. 5.0 rpg.

PF: Kenny Gabriel 12.2 ppg. 7.8 rpg. 2.5 bpg.

SF: Allen Payne 3.4 ppg. 3.5 rpg.

SG: Frankie Sullivan 12.4 ppg. 4.1 rpg. 1.3 spg.

PG: Josh Wallace 3.3 ppg. 2.0 apg.

Key Reserves: Chris Denson 8.7 ppg. 22.9 mpg.,Varez Ward 9.0 ppg. 3.6 apg.

Team Leaders

Points: Sullivan 12.4

Rebounds: Gabriel 7.8

Blocks: Gabriel 2.5

Steals: Sullivan 1.3

Assist: Ward 3.6

MSU

C: Renardo Sidney 10.4 ppg. 5.2 rpg. 0.7 blks.

PF: Arnett Moultrie 16.5 ppg. 10.8 rpg.

SF: Rodney Hood 11.2 ppg. 5.1 rpg. .396 3pp.

SG: Brian Bryant 6.7 ppg. 4.6 rpg.

PG: Dee Bost 16.0 ppg. 3.3 rpg. 5.0 apg.

Key Reserves: Jalen Steele 7.9 ppg. 1.8 rpg. ; Wendell Lewis 4.0 ppg. 4.2 rpg. 1.0 bpg.; Deville Smith 5.2 ppg. 2.4 apg.

Team Leaders

Points: Moultrie 16.5

Rebounds: Moultrie 10.8

Blocks: Lewis 1.0

Steals: Bost 2.1

Assist: Bost 5.0

Player To Watch

Auburn

Kenny Gabriel: Gabriel had a double-double the last time the Tigers
played the Bulldogs.  They will need another big game from him, if
the Bulldogs are to be upset.

 

 

 

 

MSU

Deville Smith: The Bulldogs have been plagued by depth issues, most of the season.
Smith getting back in the mix will help alleviate those problems.


3 Keys To Victory

Auburn

1. Swarm Moultrie: Moultrie struggles passing out of the double-team. The Tigers must swarm him and force the big man to turn the ball over.

2. Speed It Up: The Tigers almost pulled the upset, last game, playing high-tempo. They must employ the same strategy Saturday night.

3. Don’t Turn Over the Ball: The Tigers turnover the ball at a high clip. They must protect the ball if they hope to win.

MSU

1. Feed Sidney: Sidney has started to play well, the past four games. The Bulldog must feed him and make him a priority.

2. Keep Pace Slow: The Bulldogs struggle when other teams go up-tempo. They have to keep the pace slow versus the Tigers, to avoid the upset.

3. Don’t Collapse: I think this is an obvious one. The Bulldogs have to stop collapsing in games in which they are favored.

Final Analysis

The Tigers will do their best to extend the Bulldogs’ losing streak, but I feel the Bulldogs will pull the game out. If they lose, Rick Stansbury may not want to check his twitter account.

My Prediction:  69-64, Mississippi State

Jeremiah Short is a writer who covers Mississippi State football and basketball for The Real Story. Follow him on Twitter – @JeremiahShort26, e-mail him at JShort@realstorypublishing.com, or join his Facebook blog,
Real Story Sports: J.Short’s Blog

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The Real Story for the Golden Triangle and North Mississippi. Always the truth... No Compromise. Changing the community one story at a time! You make the news... We keep it Real.

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