March 16, 2010

Jackson State preview

Mississippi State only had a day to shake off their disappointing overtime loss to Kentucky and a snub by NCAA Tournament selection committee.

The Bulldogs will have to put all that behind them tonight when Jackson State travels to Starkville for the first round of the National Invitational Tournament at 9 p.m.

MSU makes their fourth consecutive postseason appearance and first appearance in the NIT since 2007 before bowing out to West Virginia in the semifinals on a buzzer beater. The Bulldogs are 6-6 in the NIT during their six previous appearances.

The NIT is the Bulldogs 17th postseason appearance and 10th during Rick Stansbury's 12-year tenure. Mississippi State is 9-9 in postseason play under Stansbury.

Provided State keeps winning their No. 1 seeding will secure home court advantage until the NIT reaches the final four teams in which the tournament will be played out at Madison Square Garden in New York.

It will be just the fourth meeting between the two instate schools with the Bulldogs winning the three previous matchups. The Magnolia State schools last met in 2003 with MSU coming away with a 75-56 win at Humphrey Coliseum.

State finished the regular season with a 23-11 record and split the SEC Western Division crown finishing with an 11-8 record against league opponents. It is the third straight season the Bulldogs have had 23 wins.

Mississippi State is shooting 43.6-percent from the field and averaging 72.6 points per game. The Bulldogs are also knocking down 36-percent from the outside and 68-percent from the free throw line. They set a single season school record with 860 3-pointers attempted and 310 treys made. Opponents are being held to 38.6-percent shooting and 64.5 point an outing.

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