March 8, 2012 12:56:27 PM
NEW ORLEANS - 9 p.m. (UPDATED) The Dispatch MSU Sports Blog is LOOKING LIVE.....at the playing floor of New Orleans Arena as they take the floor for warmups before Mississippi State(21-10, 8-8 in SEC) takes on Georgia (14-16, 5-11).
MSU freshman wing player Rodney Hood will come off the bench for the third straight game since coming back form the knee injury he suffered in a Feb. 21 home loss to the University of Kentucky. However, Hood was participating in warmups with no protective sleeve or brace on the knee for the first time since being back with from the injury.
MSU's starting lineup: Dee Bost, Brian Bryant, Jalen Steele, Arnett Moultrie and Renardo Sidney.
3:45 p.m. (UPDATED) - The Dispatch MSU Sports Blog has received another vote in the positive category for Mississippi State fans as CBS college basketball analyst Seth Davis agrees with the assessment of both Joe Lunardi and Doug Gottlieb with the idea MSU can feel safe about an NCAA tournament at-large berth if they defeat Georgia tonight in the first round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament (9 p.m., WCBI).
1:45 p.m. (UPDATED) - The Dispatch MSU Sports Blog texted back-and-forth with ESPN bracket analyst Joe Lunardi and ESPN college basketball analyst Doug Gottlieb about Mississippi State's position in regards to the NCAA Tournament:
Both Lunardi and Gottlieb agree that if MSU (21-10, 8-8) can survive tonight's SEC first-round matchup with Georgia (14-16, 5-11), then MSU would be solidily in the field of 68 as an at-large selection.
Lunardi currently has 11-seed in Columbus versus Ohio Valley Conference Tournament champion Murray State (30-1).
NEW ORLEANS - We are LOOKING LIVE.....at New Orleans Arena for the beginning of the 2012 Southeastern Conference Tournament. Currently the starting lineups are being announced for the matchup between No. 8-seed LSU and No. 9-seed Arkansas in the first action here of the day.
So....let's recap what was said yesterday when I was on the road traveling.
As I stated in the preview for tonight's Mississippi State-Georgia contest, http://www.cdispatch.com/sports/article.asp?aid=15989, Bulldogs forward Arnett Moultrie would be perfectly happy to walk the game plan over to Georgia coach Mark Fox and essentially say 'here, this is what we're going to do.' and that's get the ball in the paint against a UGA frontcourt that averages about 6-foot-8 and 227 pounds.
"Yeah, that's the game plan," Moultrie, a SEC first-team selection by the coaches, said. "Coach Stansbury said today in practice earlier we want to dominate inside. That's what we need to do this game."
Moultrie, who leads the SEC in rebounding (10.7 a game) and double-doubles (18), said he'll have to keep Georgia's attack on the offensive glass at bay tonight if MSU (21-10, 8-8) wants to get revenge for the overtime loss at Humphrey Coliseum on Feb. 11. The 70-68 loss to UGA (14-16, 5-11) was only the eighth time all season MSU had been beaten on the backboard with State being 3-5 in those games.
"I got to do a better job of blocking those guys out and limiting their offensive rebounds," Moultrie said.
The loss against Georgia started the much talked about tailspin that included a five-game losing streak that was snapped last week at South Carolina - a win that gave this MSU team some of its confidence back.
"We needed that (win) because the previous games we were coming up short in overtime or close
games, but we needed a game like that to show that we can win a close game," MSU senior point guard Dee Bost said.
And it allowed for a tasty treat trip before leaving South Carolina.
"Any time we win at South Carolina, and we did, allowed us to stop at Krispy Kreme," MSU head coach Rick Stansbury said. "That's the first good thing. That's our tradition. So that was number one."
Stansbury currently has 16 wins in the SEC Tournament, which ranks MSU third behind Kentucky (24) and Florida (19) for most wins in the event since 1999. In the last three years, MSU is 6-2 in the SEC Tournament and has advanced to the finals twice.
"It's nothing," Stansbury said. "Every team's different. Every team you bring here is
different. It's a fine line. A lot of those games, we have won some close games."
All of the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers: feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/matthewcstevens for up-to-date Mississippi State coverage.
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