Georgia Bulldogs take a basketball business trip to Starkville


The Georgia Bulldogs visit the Mississippi State Bulldogs Saturday afternoon at 3:00 hoping to take care of business.

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The Bulldog Cagers will call on the Mississippi State Bulldogs in Starkville on Saturday afternoon. If the Dawgs attend to business they will leave with a four game SEC win streak and a view from inside the NCAA Tourney bracketology bubble.

Until this week, few doubted Mississippi State was a poor basketball team. But the maroon Bulldogs ran off two consecutive conference wins, including one at Auburn against the new crown prince of basketball on the Plains, Bruce Pearl.

While it’s a tad early to know if Pearl is truly the crown prince or simply the court jester in Auburn, he has made the Coleman Coliseum a formidable home venue for visitors, leading the Tigers to an 11-2 home record and a 3-1 conference record at home. With the lone Auburn Conference loss at the hands of Mississippi State, the Bulldogs must be taken seriously.

The maroon dogs are ranked 55 nationally in rebound margin. That’s pretty much it for Mississippi State. For the year they are ranked 300 or worse in, turnovers, turnover margin, blocks, assists, assists to turnovers, scoring offense, 3-point field goals , 3-point field goal percentage, and 241 in field goal percentage and 136 in field goal percentage defense. This against a schedule ranked 142.

To beat Auburn, Mississippi State converted the 12 Auburn turnovers into 21 points and overcame their own 17 turnovers. State also shot 50% from the field in the second half. But defense was the key ingredient as the Bulldogs held Auburn to 27% shooting in the first half.

Are the last two games , a home win against Vanderbilt, 1-4 in the SEC with a 99 RPI, and the road win against Auburn, 2-3 in the SEC with a 139 RPI, indicative of a Mississippi State team on the rise or of a bad team that beat a couple of worse team?

Jan 7, 2015; Starkville, MS, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs forward Fallou Ndoye (22) shoots the ball during the game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Humphrey Coliseum. Tennessee Volunteers defeated the Mississippi State Bulldogs 61-47. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

On the other hand, there is no argument the Georgia Bulldogs’ reputation is surging, with the Dawgs receiving a total of 13 votes this week in the AP Top 25, good enough for 35th place. Seven voters placed Georgia in their Top 25 ballots: two Southerners, three Northeastern media types and one each from the Midwest and Northwest.

Georgia’s current official RPI of 27 received recent boosts from teams the Bulldogs have beaten – Stony Brook, which won at Washington in December; Seton Hall, which opened Big East play with wins over St. John’s and Villanova and is ranked 24th in the current AP Top 25; and Kansas State, which won at #19 Oklahoma last weekend.

To slap the maroon dogs back into their place, Georgia just needs to force Mississippi State to do what it does – turn the ball over and shoot poorly. If the Bulldogs play to near their average in turnovers and free throws, the afternoon should belong to the red and black.

The game is at 3:00 Eastern and can be see on Fox Sports Net and Free Video streaming on and heard on the Bulldog Sports Network, Sirius 93 and XM 193,  and on the internet at

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