The Mississippi State Bulldogs host the Vanderbilt Commodores in Starkville on Feb. 26. The game marks the first time the two SEC schools have met in men’s basketball this season.
Vanderbilt’s 2022 season hasn’t been horrible, but it’s still been far from great. The commodores sit just above .500 with a 14-13 record. They are currently 10th in the SEC standings and have a NET ranking of 79.
Expectations weren’t high for the team, but with the addition of transfers Liam Robbins (Minnesota) and Rodney Chatman (Dayton) plus the return of Scotty Pippen Jr., there was some buzz at the beginning of the season.
Although they’re practically out of NCAA Tournament consideration, the team still has two Quad 1 wins against No. 25 LSU and away at Arkansas. If the Commodores can win out against Q1 and Q2 teams, then make a solid SEC Tournament run, it’s a possibility they make the NIT.
Mississippi State has had a slightly more successful season than Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs have a 16-12 record with Quad 1 wins against Arkansas and No. 24 Alabama. Currently seventh in the SEC, the team is led in points and assists by Junior guard Iverson Molinar (No. 1) and forward Garrison Brooks (Np. 10).
Like Vanderbilt, their best hope of getting into the NCAA tournament is by winning the SEC. Mississippi State was the runner-up of last year’s NIT tournament and you could definitely see them receiving another invitation this year.
ESPN’s Basketball Power Index (BPI) gives Miss St. a 77.9% chance to win tomorrow afternoon’s game. According to Kenpom, the Bulldogs have a better-adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency. Home court advantage doesn’t hurt either.
However, I wouldn’t count Vandy out of this one that quick. Although they’ve struggled over portions of this season, they’ve also had shining moments. They play a higher-tempo style of basketball and could catch Mississippi St. off guard if they shoot well.
It should be a good one in Starkville tomorrow.
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