March 15, 2009

SEC Tournament Championship Preview

Just when most had all but given up hope on Mississippi State making the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year the Bulldogs proved the doubters wrong.

MSU is one win away from punching a ticket to the Big Dance and claiming a third Southeastern Conference Tournament Championship. But standing in the Bulldogs way will be a highly skilled and junior laden Tennessee squad.

Tipoff for today's game with be at 12:05 p.m. CST from the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Fla. The game is set to be televised nationally on CBS.

State met the Volunteers in Knoxville on Feb. 25 and suffered a 81-76 setback. Tennessee currently holds the series lead 74-38 including eight of the last 10 games but the Bulldogs are 6-2 against the Vols in the SEC Tournament.

Today will mark the Bulldogs fifth appearance in the SEC Tournament Championship game. Mississippi State sports a 2-2 record in those games with wins over Kentucky in 1996 and Alabama in 2002.

With a five game winning streak, the Bulldogs are now 22-12 overall and 12-7 in the conference after wins over Georgia, South Carolina and LSU already in the tournament. MSU is averaging 75.1 points per game and shooting 43.7-percent from the field this season. They are also knocking down 36.7-percent from the outside as well as hitting 71-percent from the free throw line. The Bulldogs lead the conference with 7.5 blocked shots a game and allow their opponents to score 69 points an outing.

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