Show Me My Opponent: Mississippi State

LINEUP NOTES

Mississippi State:

  • Howland changed his starting lineup after the LSU loss on January 11 and hasn’t changed it since: Weatherspoon, Stewart, Woodard, Perry, Ado.
  • Given Perry’s shooting abilities, MSU most closely runs a four-out motion that leaves Ado in. However, it’s honestly closer to a 3-out given how much time Perry spends in and around the paint.
  • Almost certainly looking at just a seven-man rotation; deep backups Prince Oduro and KeyShawn Feazell haven’t topped five minutes since the LSU game three weeks ago. Tyson Carter is the sixth man and Iverson Molinar plays anywhere from 10-20 minutes. Any game where MSU has to give more than about ~25% of their minutes to the bench they’re in real trouble.

Tennessee:

  • Vescovi, Bowden, JJJ, Pons, Fulkerson. Again, the only guy even moderately close to starter’s minutes is Jalen Johnson, and his are coming largely at the expense of Josiah-Jordan James as of late.
  • In Tennessee’s two losses this past week, the bench combined for 78 minutes out of 400 total. That alone is a bit alarming, considering Tennessee’s starting lineup is far from perfect. When I add in the fact that the only player to score off the bench is Jalen Johnson and it’s 4 points in 45 minutes of play, you might puke.
  • Euro Plastics minutes down to 2 against Texas A&M. I hate to be mean, but again: what’s the fascination with Olivier Nkamhoua when Euro Plastics or Drew Pember don’t look like puppies growing into giant legs and seem to know how to use their bodies somewhat?

KEY MATCHUPS

Yves Pons vs. Reggie Perry. I imagine Tennessee will try out a few different defenders here, but this should largely be Pons’ assignment. Pons has not often had to defend guys 6’10” or taller this year, but it’s either Perry or Ado, and I think we all feel more comfortable sticking John Fulkerson on the other 6’10″+ guy that rarely leaves the paint. Perry’s a dominant force on offense, and a victory here probably means you held Perry to 15 points or fewer.

Josiah-Jordan James vs. Robert Woodard. Woodard is apparently getting buzz as a late-first round 2020 NBA Draft pick. I don’t really get it, but then again, it’s far less confusing than the Jaden McDaniels hype. Anyway, I think he might be MSU’s best defender. JJJ, simply put, has gotta suck less. Play to your strengths, young man.

Jordan Bowden vs. Tyson Carter. Almost a perfect mirror image of each other somehow. If Bowden wins, I’m willing to bet it’s because he got 4+ attempts at the rim.

Me vs. This Tweet. I haven’t stopped laughing at it or thinking about it since I first saw it yesterday afternoon.

I understand that this guy’s schtick is basically @hondadeal4vets but from a white guy…and I kinda don’t care. Everything about this is hilarious to me, beginning with “aka Drip Daddy”, continuing with the utterly baffling wallet-at-belt-level shot, and ending with the caption. Every few minutes, since about 6 PM yesterday, I’ve caught myself laughing and saying “she knows the drip Israel.” This is as good of a brain worm as I’ve found lately.

PREDICTION

Mississippi State 66, Tennessee 60. Tennessee wins if they force a bunch of turnovers and hit a few threes, but it seems like pulling teeth to get them to do both against a solid opponent.

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