Mississippi State Basketball: Bulldogs Look to Continue Winning Streak at LSU

Mississippi State basketball travels to Baton Rouge to take on the LSU Tigers. Can the Bulldogs win their fifth-straight game?
Feb 21, 2024; Starkville, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs forward Cameron Matthews (4)
Feb 21, 2024; Starkville, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs forward Cameron Matthews (4) / Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Mississippi State basketball will look to continue its winning streak Saturday night in Baton Rouge when they take on the LSU Tigers. The Bulldogs (18-8, 7-6 SEC) are coming off four-straight wins and will look to make it five against a much-improved LSU squad (14-12, 6-7 SEC) that's posted a pair of impressive wins over the past week.

This is the first time these two teams have met this season. Both State and LSU are under second-year head coaches in Chris Jans and Matt McMahon respectively. Mississippi State has put itself into position to reach the NCAA Tournament for the second-straight year, with many bracketologists projecting the Bulldogs as a 9 or 10-seed.

LSU's at-large hopes are slim, as they are well outside the projected field and would likely need to win out plus have several outside results work in their favor. Still, the Tigers have taken a major step forward from last season when they went 14-19 and won just two SEC games. They're firmly a middle of the pack team within a loaded SEC this year that has proven they can play with some of the league's best. They should provide plenty a challenge for Mississippi State.

A Look at the LSU Tigers

LSU basketball is 14-12 on the season. They're currently tied for 8th in the SEC standings with a 6-7 league record. LSU has shown throughout the year that they're more than capable of taking down quality competition. The Tigers own five wins over potential tournament teams.

Two of those wins came within the last week when they won on the road at #11 South Carolina 64-63 and upset #17 Kentucky at home 75-74. With a pair of thrilling victories against ranked teams, there's plenty of momentum around Matt McMahon's program.

The Tigers are a strong offensive team, scoring over 77 PPG, and they're outstanding at shooting threes, making 36% from behind the arc. Defensively, they've been lacking, giving up over 74 PPG and allowing opponents to shoot nearly 34% from three. They haven't been the best rebounding team either. In many ways, there's similarities in this matchup for Mississippi State to their last game against Ole Miss.

The status of LSU's best player is up in the air. Guard Jalen Cook (15.6 PPG) is questionable with an injury after missing the last two games. But keep in mind, the Tigers picked up their best wins of the season without him. Two other Tigers, guard Jordan Wright and center Will Baker, are averaging double-figures. Wright and forward Tyrell Ward have been massive for the Tigers in recent games, helping make up for Cook's missing production.

NCAA Tournament Implications

This is yet another important game for Mississippi State basketball's tournament hopes. At #84 in the NET, the Tigers present a Quad 2 opportunity for MSU. More importantly, it's a chance for the Bulldogs to add just their second road win of the year. The lack of road wins is the last big issue State has yet to resolve on their resume, but if they can add another here, they'll be in good shape.

Matchup Notes

LSU leads the all-time series against Mississippi State basketball 114-103. The Bulldogs are just 36-71 in Baton Rouge. State's last win at the Pete Maravich Center came back in 2017. Last year in Starkville, MSU took down the Tigers 64-53.

TV Broadcast

7:30 PM CT on SEC Network

This is yet another crucial game for Mississippi State basketball. It's a chance to add another road win and get one step closer to locking up a bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs just need a few more wins over these final weeks of the regular season to feel safe about reaching the Big Dance. But I don't expect the Tigers to make it easy for them. The P-Mac is a very tough place to play, and I'd expect a wild atmosphere. It's sure to be a great game Saturday night.