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Ole Miss Rebels vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs Game Preview and Open Thread

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The rivalry heats up again tonight, as the TSFWCDAO Bullfrauds' Mississippi State Bulldogs' will attempt to take advantage of a chance to split the 2012 Eggball series with our Ole Miss Rebels. It's a very important game for both teams with regards to SEC and NCAA Tournament footing. Ole Miss has had a few "must wins" on the schedule this year, with tonight's game being no exception to this. MSU's resume at this point is better than Ole Miss', but if they drop this one, they're not looking at many games remaining that will improve their RPI.

The Rebels are looking for a second big win to make bracketologists take us seriously enough to put us in the tournament for now. While things don't look good for our chances at a bid, they could be much brighter with a win tonight as it is a road win against a top-25 team. Were our Rebels to have bettered Florida, Auburn, or Alabama (all games were easily winnable), we'd be in much better shape today resume wise, but no use in rehashing that; we are where we are, and we need a win tonight in a place we, and most SEC teams, rarely win.

In order to defeat State, we've got to do what we did against them in game one. We have to minimize Dee Bost's contribution (by defending him primarily with Terrance Henry), see a bad night from Renardo Sidney (it's a spin of the wheel - I don't think it's something we have a lot of control over), and hope that Arnett Moultrie can't beat us alone.

That last point isn't a ridiculous one, either. Moultrie is an elite college basketballer. He can dominate both offensively and defensively, meaning that he himself can dictate Mississippi State's tempo and game style. He will be the focal point of this game for both teams tonight, something about which I have little doubt.

I don't expect Reggie Buckner to have the monster game he had in game one, but I would guess he'll put up good stats. If we can limit the shot selections of Jarvis Summers and Jelan Kendrick, making this a game about what happens around the rim, I think we can win. If not, we're in a tough situation. We're not a team which can score with a lot of range, so if that's the game we either choose to play or are pigeonholed into playing, this one could get ugly.

Predictions

1. Terrance Henry scores 15 or more.

2. Murphy Holloway registers 12 or more blocks.

3. Dee Bost has two or fewer turnovers on the night.

MSU 70 - Ole Miss 62

The Game is at 6:00 PM Central on ESPN2. OPEN THREAD is below.