#1 Kentucky Wildcats (26-1) at Mississippi State (19-8) Preview: Cats and Dawgs Face-Off In Statement Game

#1 Kentucky Wildcats (26-1) at Mississippi State (19-8) 

Location: Starkville, Mississippi (Humphrey Coliseum)

Time: 8 p.m.

TV: ESPN

Initial Analysis

The Mississippi State Bulldogs head into their match-up against the #1 Kentucky Wildcats carrying a three-game losing streak. They will try to end that streak on Tuesday night. The Wildcats have five potential first-round NBA draft picks on their roster and will be tough to topple. Past match-ups have been intense between these teams, and this time should not be any different.

Team Breakdowns

Kentucky

 Coach: John Calipari

Big Wins: Kansas, North Carolina, Louisville, Florida

The John Calipari-led Kentucky Wildcats are a team that is based on terrific athleticism and aggression.  Offensively, the Wildcats use the dribble-drive, an offense popularized by Calipari at Memphis. It’s a free-flowing system that essentially allows his athletes to go play ball. They have tremendous offensive balance and have several players that can take defenders off the dribble.  Defensively, the Wildcats play aggressive and are anchored by the nation’s leading shot-blocker, Anthony Davis. They are stingy, allowing only 58 points a game. The Wildcats are the most talented team the Bulldogs have faced this season.

 

MSU

Coach: Rick Stansbury

Big Wins: Alabama, Arizona, West Virginia, Vanderbilt

The Rick Stansbury-coached 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.Sidneyhas 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 an interesting match-up facing off against the talented Wildcats.

Team Stats

Kentucky

2011 Scoring Offense Per Game: 77.8

2011 Scoring Defense Per Game: 58.0

2011 Field Goal Percentage: 48.7

2011 3-Point Percentage: 38.1

2011 Rebounds Per Game: 39.4

2011 Blocks Per Game: 9.3

2011 Steals Per Game: 6.5

2011 Assist Per Game: 13.6

2011 Turnovers Per Game: 11.9

MSU

2011 Scoring Offense Per Game: 72.5

2011 Scoring Defense Per Game: 66.6

2011 Field Goal Percentage: 46.0

2011 3-Point Percentage: 36.0

2011 Rebounds Per Game: 36.9

2011 Blocks Per Game: 3.6

2011 Steals Per Game: 6.1

2011 Assist Per Game: 12.9

2011 Turnovers Per Game: 11.9

Projected Line-Ups

Kentucky

C: Anthony Davis 13.9 ppg. 9.7 rpg. 4.9 bpg.

PF: Terrence Jones 12.3 ppg. 6.7 rpg.

SF: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 12.0 ppg. 7.7 rpg.

SG: Doran Lamb 13.8 ppg. 3.2 rpg.

PG: Marquis Teague 9.6 ppg. 4.8 apg.

Key Reserves: Darius Miller 9.9 ppg. 25.2 mpg.; Kyle Wiltjer 6.0 ppg. 2.3 rpg.

Team Leaders

Points:Davis 13.9

Rebounds: Kidd-Gilchrist 7.7

Blocks:Davis 4.9

Steals:Davis 1.4

Assist: Teague 4.8

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 11.1 ppg. 5.0 rpg. .376 3pp.

SG: Brian Bryant 6.7 ppg. 4.5 rpg.

PG: Dee Bost 15.8 ppg. 3.3 rpg. 5.0 apg.

Key Reserves: Jalen Steele 7.8 ppg. 21.9 mpg. , 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 2.0

Assist: Bost 5.0

Players To Watch

Kentucky

Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist – The Wildcats have two players that should give the Bulldogs trouble.Davis should erase everything the Bulldogs throw up, and Kidd-Gilchrist will be tough to stop on the offensive end. I expect big nights from both players.

 

 

 

MSU

Renardo Sidney – If there ever was a game that Sidney could make Mississippi State fans forget about his enigmatic history – this is it.Sidney has to play big for the Bulldogs to have a chance to win.


3 Keys To Victory

Kentucky

1. Double Sidney – The Wildcats don’t have anyone that can check Sidney. They must double him and force other Mississippi State players to beat them.

2. Get Kidd-Gilchrist Going Early – Kidd-Gilchrist is the Wildcats’ best scorer and they must get him in the flow early.

3. Go High-Tempo – I have said this, ad nauseam. The Bulldogs struggle with up-tempo basketball and the Wildcats must exploit it.

MSU

1. Just Get Sidney the Ball – The Bulldog guards need to get Sidney the ball and get out of the way. Sidney is the Bulldogs’ only chance—as I have never trusted Moultrie in big games.

2. Just Get Sidney the Ball – This is so important; I put it twice.

3. Don’t Crack: For God’s sake – if the game is in fighting distance, don’t choke.

Final Analysis

The Bulldogs, in my opinion, will show up tomorrow against the Wildcats, but I think the superior coach ability of John Calipari will win out.

Will The Dawgs Show Up?

My Prediction: 72-67, Kentucky

Jeremiah Short covers Mississippi State University football and basketball.  Follow him on Twitter, @JeremiahShort26; join his Facebook blog, Real Story Sports: J.Short’s Blog, or e-mail him, JShort@realstorypublishing.com.

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4 Comments on “#1 Kentucky Wildcats (26-1) at Mississippi State (19-8) Preview: Cats and Dawgs Face-Off In Statement Game”

  1. Kevin Gregg Says:

    9 point spread, you came very close in the final prediction. I agree with everything except the Sidney part. He played 22 minutes and only shot one 3 pointer. He got 4 fouls when he was in the paint. You better start trusting Moultrie; he’s the most reliable guy we have in the paint, and that was his 25th double-double of his career.

    Reply

  2. Kevin Gregg Says:

    Also, what’s our big man doing outside? He get successfully blocked out all night (well, he only played half the game, so they found him open for 2 3 shots and he sunk one)? Also check your Team Leaders. Moultrie is listed in the top points and rebounds. See Sid anywhere on that list? I’d trust the statistical Team Leaders. He may have hustled and got the goaltending, but after his behavior, you know he’s under all the ref’s microscope, whether or not it’s justified. 1 rebound in 22 minutes? Kentucky’s good! Left Moultrie up for another double-double, and he played 39 minutes — the most of anyone on the team. Bost also did well. It really hurt the team when Hood went out. He’s the best from FG range… nobody else seems to know how to penetrate a team with a defense. What’s up with State playing zone? They weren’t very undermatched when it came to talent. Love for you to field that one, though I probably know the answer. Also hurts when Kirby is at Georgetown, assistant coaching the Hoyas, not in Starkville at the Hump.

    KG

    Reply

  3. bill Says:

    Is MSU still in the top 25 ? I could not find them. I’ll look again tonight. Go Dogs !!!!!!

    Reply

  4. al Says:

    Hey Bill, Are you under a rock or what? It’s OVER. They need to run Sidney off and keep the ones that want to play!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply

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