One thing is for certain in Baton Rouge today.
One school will be able to get a good feeling back into their program as it enters the final regular season month of the 2010-11 season.
Mississippi State, who has lost three of its last four league games, travels to face a team it had recent success against in LSU (10-12, 2-5 in Southeastern Conference).
The Bulldogs (11-10, 3-4) have won seven out of the last 10 overall in the series with an LSU team that has lost its last five games after winning its first two in the league.
“It’s never easy on the road,” Mississippi State head coach Rick Stansbury said. “We know we’re going to get LSU’s best effort. We always do. They’ve had some struggles lately, but they are a young team that is only going to get better.”
The key to the game may be on the glass as both teams have struggled to rebound the basketball and ranked near the bottom in that statistical category.
LSU, who starts three true freshman, has struggled to score during their five-game losing streak as the Tigers have failed to post more than 56 points in that stretch.
“I don't want to say the inexperience or anything like that, but it has to do with their ability to concentrate in the heat of battle and heat of a contest,” LSU head coach Trent Johnson said. “We have a lot of that going on and that is where the word frustration lies for me and the word accountability lies for them.”
LSU is 3-12 when they allow more than 60 points in a game. The Tigers don’t have a single player averaging more than 12 points per game.
Mississippi State hasn’t started the SEC season 3-5 since 2007 and to avoid that today (3 p.m., SEC Network), it will have to be able to keep sophomore forward Renardo Sidney out of early foul trouble.
In the Bulldogs’ 75-61 loss at Alabama Wednesday, the 6-foot-10 post player picked up his second foul with 18:41 left in the opening half. Sidney sat next to Stansbury on the bench the whole first half and finish the contest with just 11 points in 19 minutes of action.
“Would I rather have him on the bench or on the court – I think the answer to that is very obvious,” Stansbury said. “Ever since that moment, for the rest of the half, we weren’t very good.”
Junior point guard Dee Bost paced his team with 18 points, seven assists and four steals in the loss to Alabama but today could also be a milestone day for Bost. The Concord, N.C., native needs just 12 more points to become the 33rd MSU player to score 1,000 for a career.
“I have always had the utmost respect for him,” Johnson said. “I was very impressed with him as a freshman my first year and how he was able to keep them in games, and the way he beat us in the tournament by single handedly running the team, being a leader and being a good defender. He's a winner.”
It’s the 199th meeting between the two, marking the second-longest series for MSU. Mississippi State and Ole Miss have met 242 times. For Stansbury, the game will be his 200th in SEC play.
“Right now, all I’m worried about is getting a win,” Stansbury said.