One more chance for some semblance of respectability, folks. Carolina travels to Starkville this weekend for an afternoon game against the Mississippi St. Bulldogs. A win for Carolina would ensure a +.500 record.
Let's take a closer look at the game.
Not many, to be honest. South Carolina is likely out of the running for an NIT berth barring a strong SEC Tournament run. Carolina may have a shot at the CBI, depending on whether or not Darrin Horn would accept a berth. The game may mean slightly more for MSU, who are still in the running for the NIT with a 16-13 record and a Pomeroy RPI of 115.
What to Watch For
I was impressed with Horn's halftime adjustments against Tennessee. We moved to taking much higher-percentage shots in this game, with players like Lakeem Jackson and Malik Cooke attacking the basket off the dribble and Sam Muldrow working the post. Against MSU, I'd like to see us try to do these things early on, too. Maybe then we wouldn't go into halftime down 15.
The second thing to watch for is just how MSU looks in this game. The Bulldogs are one of the conference's most high-variance teams. MSU has no shortage of talent, as Renardo Sidney, Dee Bost, and Ravern Johnson are all guys who at times look like they should be household names. MSU is also a fairly experienced team with several upperclassmen. However, this Bulldogs team has only occasionally played up to its potential. Who wins this game could depend on which MSU shows up, because I think it's safe to say that the Bulldogs are better than us when they're on.
Why Carolina Could Win
South Carolina has tended to be a much better offensive rebounding team than MSU, and it showed a knack for offensive boards when it went to a big lineup against Tennessee. Perhaps we can scrap together a victory. Check out the Four Factors comparison:
Why MSU Could Win
Shooting. Mississippi St. has a fantastic set of shooters, and teams that shoot the ball well win games. We don't, unfortunately.
5-10 point MSU victory.