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2019 NCAA tournament preview: Mississippi State

Mississippi State Bulldogs: 23-10, 10-8 in the Southeastern Conference

Head coach: Ben Howland (4th season)

Players to watch: Quinndary Weatherspoon (18.2 PPG, 1.7 SPG); Lamar Peters (11.7 PPG, 5.2 APG); Reggie Perry (9.8 PPG, 7.1 RPG)

Season recap: The Bulldogs were unable to start their postseason with a piece of hardware, losing to third-seeded Tennessee 83-76 in a tough battle in the SEC tournament quarterfinals. While they have proven able to handily defeat most of their conference opponents, single-digit losses to opponents like Kentucky and LSU have kept Mississippi State stuck in the middle of the SEC standings. Nonetheless, the Bulldogs are optimistic going into the tournament having won six out of their last eight regular season games.

Mississippi State is led by senior guard Quinndary Weatherspoon, an efficient scoring guard averaging better than 18 points per game while shooting more than 50 percent from the field. The Bulldogs have a variety of other guards as well— Lamar Peters, the floor general who dishes 5.2 assists per game, and Tyson Carter, who averages just over 10 points per game. A guard dominated team, Mississippi State led the SEC in 3-point shooting percentage.

The Bulldogs also have two dominant big men who can score the basketball and protect the paint, including former McDonalds All-American Reggie Perry. However, it’s no secret that this team is rooted in its guards. Mississippi State will be making its 11th appearance in the NCAA tournament—this year being its first since 2009—when it lost to Washington in the Round of 64. 

How they make a run: Weatherspoon and the rest of the guards for Mississippi State score the ball with ease, and the team as a whole closes out games better against higher ranked opponents.

How they falter: The guards of Mississippi State have an off-shooting night, leaving the Bulldog offense in a drought.

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