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Gameday Capsule: MSU at Kentucky

 

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MISSISSIPPI STATE (14-5, 2-4) at KENTUCKY (14-5, 4-3) 

 

BROADCAST INFO: 8 p.m. on ESPN with Joe Tessitore, Sean Farnham and Laura Rutledge, plus Neil Price and Richard Williams on the MSU Radio Network. 

 

KENTUCKY's LAST 5: L 76-65 at Tennessee, W 74-73 vs. Texas A&M, W 74-67 at Vanderbilt, L 76-68 at South Carolina, L 66-64 vs. Florida. 

 

MSU's LAST 5: L 64-58 at Ole Miss, L 71-54 at Florida, L 76-68 vs. Auburn, W 80-62 vs. Vanderbilt, L 68-62 at Alabama. 

 

KENTUCKY's RESUMÉ: Given what it's done in SEC play, I don't think there's any denying this is the weakest Kentucky team in recent memory, but it's still done plenty to prove its worth. It played Kansas tough on a neutral court, beat Louisville to death and has respectable, despite not being top 50, wins over Virginia Tech, Georgia and LSU. Classic world-beater Kentucky probably wouldn't have struggled with Vermont and LSU or lost to UCLA like it did, but this is still a Kentucky that's undoubtedly better than MSU when its playing at home. 

 

KENTUCKY PROJECTED STARTERS 

 

G 22 Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Fr., 6'6", 180 -- 11.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 4.2 apg, 1.9 spg, played in all 19 games but only started 6 times. 

 

G 5 Kevin Knox, Fr., 6'9", 215 -- 14.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 18 steals in 19 games, leads the team (by far) with 84 3-point attempts but only shooting 29.8 percent. 

 

G 3 Hamidou Diallo, R-Fr., 6'5", 198 -- 13 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1 spg, 6-20 from the field in his last three games. 

 

F 25 PJ Washington, Fr., 6'7", 236 -- 10.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg (1.7 orpg), 53 percent from the field. 

 

F 4 Nick Richards, Fr., 6'11", 240 -- 7.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg (1.7 orpg), 25 blocks in 19 games, hasn't attempted a 3-pointer. 

 

MISSISSIPPI STATE PROJECTED STARTERS 

 

G 0 Nick Weatherspoon, Fr., 6'2", 195 -- 10.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 4 apg, 1.4 spg, 3-16 from the field in his last two games. 

 

G 23 Tyson Carter, Soph., 6'4", 165 -- 9.5 ppg, 42.4 percent from the field, one free throw attempt in his last four games. 

 

G 11 Quinndary Weatherspoon, Jr., 6'4", 205 -- 14.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 4 apg, 1.4 spg, 50.5 percent from the field. 

 

F 35 Aric Holman, Jr., 6'10", 225 -- 12.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 23 blocks in 19 games, 61.8 percent from the field, 53.3 percent from 3-point range. 

 

F 24 Abdul Ado, R-Fr., 6'11", 250 -- 7.3 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 2.1 bpg, 21 steals in 18 games, 64.3 percent from the field but only 4.6 shots per game. 

 

NOTES: KenPom gives Kentucky a 78 percent chance of winning this game with a projected final score of 71-63...MSU may have lost 10 in a row in this series, but two of them went to overtime and seven have been decided by 10 or fewer points...If Kentucky wins, it will put coach John Calipari alone in third place in school history in wins, breaking his current tie with Tubby Smith...Lamar Peters had 25 points, seven rebounds and three assists in MSU's last game against Kentucky...When Florida beat Kentucky at Rupp Arena on Saturday, it snapped Kentucky's 16-game home winning streak and 30-game streak against SEC teams at home. 

 

Follow Dispatch sports writer Brett Hudson on Twitter @Brett_Hudson

 

 

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