Feb 13, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Texas A&M Aggies guard Wade Taylor IV (4) and guard Tyrece Radford (23) leave the court after a loss against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Memorial Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Tournament Hopefuls Clash as Mississippi St. Travels to College Station

It’s officially March, which means that right around the corner madness will ensue. But first, teams have to secure their spot in the dance. Both Mississippi State and Texas A&M need the win tonight to keep their NCAA Tournament dreams a reality.

Tournament Lock?

The Bulldogs are currently projected to be the ninth seed in the Midwest, per ESPN. Mississippi State is also 32nd in the Ken Pom rankings with an adjusted efficiency margin of +17.64. The No. 7 team in the SEC looks to be a sure thing, in terms of making the tournament, the only question is where will they seed.

Pre-Senior-Night Setbacks

The Aggies have struggled recently, dropping four of their last five by an average of 17.25 points. With that said, three of the losses came to Top-25 teams (No. 15 Alabama, No. 5 Tennessee and No. 18 South Carolina). A&M currently sits as a bubble team and will need to win out and make a run in the SEC Tournament to have a shot at participating in the Madness. The Aggies currently rank 10th in the SEC. A&M will need to continue to turn the corner if they want to send their seniors off with a win.

Guard Matchup

Tonight’s game will most likely be decided by the play of both teams’ star guards. Texas A&M’s Wade Taylor is averaging 18.2 points per game, which is good for the fourth most in the SEC. Mississippi St. has firepower of its own with freshman standout Josh Hubbard putting up 17.6 points per game in road battles this season.

Game Outlook

Texas A&M is currently favored to win, with the spread at -2.5 and the moneyline leaning to the home team at -145. ESPN also like the Aggies to defend home court, giving A&M a 59.8% chance of winning, per its matchup predictor.

Up Next

Both teams close out the regular season on Saturday with Mississippi St. taking on No. 17 South Carolina. Texas A&M will travel to Oxford to play a floundering Ole Miss team.

Both teams will also travel Nashville March 13 to compete in the SEC Tournament.

About Alexander Vafeas

Alexander Vafeas is a second-year Sports Journalism student at the University of Florida. When not writing about high school sports for WRUF, Alexander works as a communications intern with the University of Florida Athletic Association.

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