Wednesday night features an SEC showdown as the No. 21 LSU Tigers (17-4, 7-1 in the SEC) travels to the Humphrey Coliseum to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs (16-5, 4-4 in the SEC).
For LSU, they are coming off of an upset loss at home to Arkansas, 90-89, on Saturday. Before that, they had won 10 games in a row. Sitting at 7-1 in the conference, they currently sit at 3rdin the SEC and are looking to stay in the thick of it with Tennessee and Kentucky currently leading the conference. For Mississippi State, they have gone 2-2 in their last 4 games, including wins over Ole Miss and Auburn, but losses to Alabama and No. 5 Kentucky. While a run at the conference is likely out of the question, Mississippi State is looking for quality wins as the NCAA tournament approaches. LSU and Mississippi State will square off on Wednesday with tipoff scheduled for 9:00 pm ET.
In this contest, the Mississippi State Bulldogs come in as 2.5-point favorites playing at home. The over/under on total points scored comes in at 156.5.
By The Numbers
Offensively, LSU has been one of the better teams in the nation. They currently rank 20th in scoring, averaging 83 points per game. They are very efficient on the offensive side, too, shooting 47.2% from the field (ranks 55th overall). LSU is also very good at crashing the offensive boards, averaging 12.5 offensive rebounds per game (39th in the nation). For Mississippi State, they come in at 61st in the nation in scoring, averaging 78.6 points per game.
Defensively, Mississippi State comes in as the more solid team, allowing opposing offenses to score 70.3 points per game (ranks 149th). LSU comes in at 206th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing 72.5 points per game. Both of these two defend the interior well as they both rank in the top-25 in blocked shots. Mississippi State ranks 15th with 5.1 blocked shots and LSU ranks 21st with 5 per game.
LSU Out To Get Back On Track
After having their 10-game win streak snapped over the weekend, the LSU Tigers are looking to start a new win streak starting on Wednesday. To do so, the Tigers will look to their sophomore guard, Tremont Waters, to continue leading the team offensively. To date, Waters is averaging 15.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, 6 assists and a whopping 3 steals per game. He is also shooting 43.9% from the field.
Waters is just one of four Tigers averaging double-digits, though. Skylar Mays, Naz Redi, and Ja’vonte Smart are also averaging over 10 points per game. Mays is averaging 13.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2 steals per game. Reid is averaging 13.2 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1 block per game while Smart is averaging 10.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.3 steals per game. In total, the Tigers have 8 players who are averaging 5 points or more per game. They will need them to combat with an underrated Mississippi State team.
Mississippi State Looking To Find Some Consistency
While they have shown flashes of success, the biggest thing that has kept Mississippi State from holding down a top-25 ranking is a lack of consistency. On Wednesday, the Bulldogs will look to make it two wins in a row against LSU before having to take on No. 5 Kentucky this weekend.
Leading the way for the Bulldogs is senior guard Quinndary Weatherspoon. He is averaging 17.6 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.5 steals per game. He is also shooting 49.2% from the field and 85.2% from the free throw line. Aside from Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Aric Holman are also averaging double-digits. Peters is averaging 12.9 points and 5.8 assists while Holman is averaging 10.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game.
The Bulldogs do have depth, though. Aside from these three, they have three others averaging 8 points or more. Reggie Perry (8.4 points, 6.2 rebounds), Tyson Carter (9.2 points) and Nick Weatherspoon (9.9 points) have all been major contributors.
Mississippi State Remains Inconsistent
Really, I see this matchup as pretty close. Both teams have dynamic offenses while neither have truly shutdown defenses. Oddsmakers tend to see it the same way given that the spread basically puts it as a pick’em game with Mississippi State given the slight edge since they are playing at home. For me, though, I have to put my money with the more consistent team, and that has been LSU. Yes, they lost their last time out, but prior to that had won 10 games in a row and had done so pretty convincingly. I see this one as being close throughout, but for that reason, I will take the team getting spotted the points. For me, I am putting my money on LSU at +2.5.