Feb 24, 2024; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; Kentucky Wildcats guard Justin Edwards (1) celebrates after making a basket during the first half against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky Heads to Mississippi State After Impressive Weekend

The Kentucky men’s basketball team will be back in action Tuesday night as they head to Starkville to face Mississippi State. The Wildcats are coming off a win in which they overwhelmed Alabama, while Mississippi State defeated LSU.

Kentucky: Dominant Wins, Questionable Losses

Kentucky (19-8) defeated No. 13 Alabama on Saturday, 117-95. It’s scoring total set a new school record for points against a ranked team. It was also only a point shy of the most points scored in a game under head coach John Calipari.


The Wildcats’ leveling of Alabama is their third win over a top-15 team this season and second in their last three games. Kentucky defeated No. 13 Auburn, 70-59, on February 17, while it also notched a win over No. 9 North Carolina, 87-83.


While the Wildcats have a strong resume of wins, they also have some losses that stand out. Kentucky is one of only six teams in the top 20 of the AP Poll to have a quad-three loss (UNCW). It also has multiple quad-two losses, falling to Florida at home and LSU.

Still, Kentucky is projected as a six-seed by ESPN.

Near the Bubble

Mississippi State comes into Tuesday’s matchup looking for a resume-building win. The Bulldogs are currently 18-9 and sit somewhere between seeds 8 and 10 in most bracket projections. A win against Kentucky would help the Bulldogs’ tournament odds in a big way. Mississippi State Head Coach Chris Jans thinks the home environment will play a role in the game.

“I know our fans will be excited. We’re going to have a rocking ‘Hump. It’s just a great opportunity for us.”

Mississippi State currently sits within the top 30 in both the NET and Kenpom rating systems. However, a win could jump them into the top 25.


After an 87-67 win over LSU on Saturday, Jans feels confident in his team for Tuesday night.

“Our guys will be super motivated.”

Aggressive Offense Vs. Staunch Defense

This SEC matchup will likely be determined by which team does their “best” better.

Kentucky is one of the most efficient offensive teams in the nation, ranking third in the country in points per game at 88.7 and eighth in adjusted offensive efficiency. The Wildcats have eclipsed 90 points in 14 games this season, the most at the D-I level. The Wildcats’ offensive onslaught is led by guard Antonio Reeves, who’s increased his scoring output to 19.9 points per game this season.

Mississippi State finds its strength on defense. The Bulldogs rank eleventh in adjusted defensive efficiency and allow only 67.5 points per game. Jans explained that he thinks his team’s best chance at beating Kentucky is based around stopping its offense.

Looking Forward

Whichever team comes out on top in this late-season SEC matchup will assist their tournament projection with only three weeks until the NCAA tournament bracket is released. Both Kentucky and Mississippi State have three games remaining after Tuesday.

About Noah White

I'm a freshman at the University of Florida, majoring in journalism and public relations. I enjoy playing soccer and volleyball with friends, watching movies with my girlfriend and, of course, writing. I also know more about Liberty League women's soccer than you do.

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