Bulldogs Try Not To Get Chomped In The Swamp: Mississippi State At #2 Florida

Mississippi State
#2 Florida
SEC Basketball Tournament - First Round
NCAA Basketball Tournament - Virginia v Florida
Rick Ray is in his first year as a head coach. He was most recently an assistant at Clemson. He inherited a team that returned just two contributors from a group that greatly underachieved last year.
Winner Billy Donovan’s resume speaks for itself; what he’s done at Florida is remarkable. He came within a late collapse in the regional final from reaching his fourth Final Four last year. This year’s team is certainly capable of getting there.
Like Florida, Mississippi State is balanced, except the scoring totals are lower. The Bulldogs are a bottom-tier offensive team and shoot poorly from beyond the arc—just 28 percent.
Winner Pick your poison against the Gators, who can score inside and out and always have multiple three-point threats on the floor. They are balanced, too, with five players averaging between 9.5 and 13.2 points.
Teams with decent offenses haven’t had trouble scoring on Mississippi State. They don’t register many blocks or steals, but the Bulldogs have managed to force turnovers at an above-average rate.
Winner Florida’s offensive firepower can mask the fact that this team ranks No. 1 in the country in defensive efficiency, allowing just .81 points per possession. The Gators clean up on the defensive boards.
Bench Depth
Winner Ray has a true eight-man rotation, as three players off the bench get significant minutes. That’s not counting Wendell Lewis, a key senior who has been injured since early December.
Donovan can turn to junior forward Will Yeguete or freshman guard Michael Frazier, a 46 percent three point shooter, when he wants to give his starters some rest. Keep an eye on Yeguete, however, as he left Tuesday’s game with a knee injury.

The Winner Is

NCAA Basketball Tournament - Virginia v Florida
Winner #2 Florida
3 out of 4

Nobody envies Ray in this situation. Mississippi State is 2-7 in the SEC and already lost by 35 to Florida at home. Now they go to Gainesville on the heels of Florida’s worst game of the season. The Gators will be hungry and focused, which is bad news for the Bulldogs.

-Andrew Kahn, College Basketball Contributor


  1. Mike Vick #2 of the Pittsburgh Steelers.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) Philip Rivers  of the San Diego Chargers (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Week 5 Tale Of The Tape: Pittsburgh Steelers At San Diego Chargers

    The high-powered Pittsburgh offense was a bit out of sync against the Ravens in Week Four without Ben Roethlisberger, but it seemed like Mike Vick was pretty close to finding success.

  2. Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) Giants quarterback Eli Manning. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Week 5 Tale Of The Tape: San Francisco 49ers At New York Giants

    Colin Kaepernick is under extreme pressure to produce at a high level. That has not been happening, and the 49ers are in danger of seeing their season fall apart.

  3. Peyton Manning (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) ST. LOUIS, MO - NOVEMBER 30: Derek Carr #4 of the Oakland Raiders passes against the St. Louis Rams in the second quarter at the Edward Jones Dome on November 30, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Rams beat the Raiders 52-0.
    Week 5 Tale Of The Tape: Denver Broncos At Oakland Raiders

    Peyton Manning appears to have come to terms with the deficiencies in his game at this point. He can no longer whistle the ball downfield at the last minute, and some medium-range passes are difficult as well.

See All Tales of the Tape