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Mississippi State Bulldogs
RECORD: - REGION: East  SEED: 5
COACH: Rick Stansbury CONFERENCE: SEC
RESULTS| STATS| HISTORY | MESSAGE BOARD | MISSISSIPPI STATE INSIDER

Road to the Final Four  ...................................................................................

PREVIOUS GAMES
OPPONENT ROUND RESULT
Butler 1st Round L 47 - 46


ESPN'S TAKE
 

with Andy Katz

 

The Bulldogs are still a stingy bunch, even though they had their lapses in the SEC. If Mississippi State plays up to its potential, the Bulldogs have one of the toughest-minded defenses in the country. But that's still a big "if". Mario Austin has emerged as one of the best low-post scorers this season, but he has had a few disappearances in big games. If the Bulldogs can get out and run with Timmy Bowers and Derrick Zimmerman, find Michel Ignerski open for a quick hit 3-pointer, then the Bulldogs have the offensive balance to make a deeper run.

Player to Watch

Mario Austin
Needs to find focus if MSU is going to make much of a run. As he goes, so go Bulldogs. See the first seven games he played.

Team Statistics
 

How They Got Here
Like many other teams in the SEC, the Bulldogs struggled through a couple of ghastly stretches in league play. They started 0-3 against high-level competition, straightened out well during the middle of the conference run and then lost three of four late. For a team that was ranked as high as seventh in the nation in early January, a 9-7 league record was nobody's idea of great.

State has had trouble scoring late in the regular season, averaging just 58.5 points per game in their final six games -- and losing half of them. Low point was a 51-point effort in an embarrassing loss to Arkansas.

The Bulldogs haven't beaten a good team that was playing well at the time since knocking off Oklahoma Dec. 28. While that and a whipping of Xaxier in Madison Square Garden were undeniable quality wins, they were also a long time ago.

Nevertheless, Sate won the Western Division behind a corps of experienced players: juniors Mario Austin (15.6 points, 7.9 rebounds) and Timmy Bowers (14.5 points) and seniors Derrick Zimmerman (8.8 points, 5.4 assists) and Michael Ignerski (9.5 points, 5.1 rebounds). That's been the nucleus of the Bulldogs' 46 victories the past two years.

What We Like
The Bulldogs play very good defense, which allows them to win games when they become grind-'em-out affairs -- which happens a lot in tournament play. They have a powerful low-post presence in Austin, an explosive perimeter scorer in Bowers and a skilled set-up man in Zimmerman.

They got NCAA experience last year, losing a second-round game that was a virtual home contest for Texas, and should be hungry for more. Of their eight regular-season losses, only one was by more than 10 points. They'll match up with just about anyone they see.

What We Don't Like
Forty-nine points against the indifferent defenders from Tennessee? Fifty-one against horrid Arkansas? A team that turned it over more often than its opponents during league play, finished ninth in scoring and ninth in assist-turnover ratio? Clearly, this team is one bad-shooting/bad-ballhandling night away from elimination. The bench is a bit iffy as well, which has resulted in Austin, Bowers and Zimmerman all averaging a wearying 33 minutes per game or more.



ROSTER
NO NAME HT WT YR  PPG RPG APG MPG FG% FT% 3PT%
  Mario Austin 6-9  260 Jr 15.47.61.332.7.528.677.364
  Timmy Bowers 6-2  190 Sr 14.83.83.034.0.475.750.420
  Michal Ignerski 6-9  225 Sr 9.34.90.825.8.464.717.325
  Derrick Zimmerman 6-3  195 Sr 9.14.25.633.2.483.663.306
  Ontario Harper G-F  6-5  215 Sr 7.64.91.529.2.425.702.253
  Winsome Frazier G-F  6-4  180 Sr 6.21.60.817.2.429.833.318
  Branden Vincent 6-8  240 Sr 4.44.30.717.3.524.500.000
  Marcus Campbell 7-0  270 Sr 3.72.40.48.2.500.636.000
  Lincoln Smith 6-9  265 Sr 1.61.30.06.6.355.526.000
  Stephen Cowherd 6-2  185 Sr 1.40.70.86.2.429.818.545
  Michael Boler G-F  6-5  190 Jr 1.21.00.03.4.429.000.000
  Seth Cannon 6-0  195 Sr 0.50.60.01.4.286.000.333
  Dennis Buse 6-0  185 Sr 0.30.30.00.8.250.000.000
  Errol Bennett 6-1  185 Sr 0.30.30.00.8.250.000.000
  Wesley Morgan 7-2  240 Sr 0.00.00.03.0.000.000.000



LAST 5 GAMES LEADERS
OPPONENT RESULT POINTS REBOUNDS ASSISTS
AuburnW, 67-45   
@ TennesseeL, 59-49   
@ ArkansasL, 53-51   
AlabamaW, 59-55   
@ KentuckyL, 70-62   


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