Mississippi State Basketball: Bulldogs set for Rematch with Rebels

Mississippi State basketball welcomes rival Ole Miss to Humphrey Coliseum for their second meeting of the season. Can the Bulldogs get revenge against the Rebels?

Jan 30, 2024; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs guard Josh Hubbard (13) shoots as
Jan 30, 2024; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs guard Josh Hubbard (13) shoots as / Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Mississippi State basketball returns to action Wednesday night at Humphrey Coliseum when the Ole Miss Rebels come to town. This will be State's second time facing the Rebels this season. The Bulldogs will look to exact revenge upon Ole Miss after falling to the Rebels 86-82 in Oxford on January 30.

Mississippi State (17-8, 6-6 SEC) has won three-straight and is racing towards earning a second-straight NCAA Tournament berth under second-year head coach Chris Jans. Meanwhile, Ole Miss (19-6, 6-6 SEC) had lost three-straight prior to beating Missouri this past weekend. The Rebels are also firmly in the mix to reach the tournament in their first season under Chris Beard.

Can the Bulldogs flip the result from the last meeting and even the season series with their rivals?

What Happened in Game 1?

State last played Ole Miss back on January 30 in Oxford, losing in a thriller, 86-82. The Bulldogs had one of their best offensive performances of the season, shooting 53.6% from the field and making eight three-pointers. True freshman sensation and former Ole Miss-signee Josh Hubbard proved no moment was too big for him, leading State with 21 points on 7-15 shooting. Three other Bulldogs scored double-figures, and MSU outrebounded the Rebels by 13.

Unfortunately, turnovers plagued State. 15 Bulldogs turnovers turned into 18 Ole Miss points. A normally feisty State defense had a lackluster day, allowing the Rebs to shoot 50.8% and surrendering 12 threes. And despite a strong offensive showing overall, Mississippi State's focal-point offensively, star big man Tolu Smith, struggled to get much of anything going with just nine points on 2-5 shooting.

What Have the Rebels Done Since?

Since taking down Mississippi State in Oxford, Ole Miss has hit a bit of a wall. The Rebels are 1-3 since that win, losing three-in-a-row to Auburn, South Carolina, and Kentucky (all tournament caliber teams, to be fair) before getting a win over Missouri this past weekend. The Ole Miss defense has been problematic as of late, and though their offense has stayed strong overall, they've struggled to find production off the bench.

Tournament Implications

This is a Quad 2 opportunity for Mississippi State, as Ole Miss is ranked 65th in the NET. With a win, the Bulldogs would move to 7-6 versus Quads 1/2. Having a winning record against the top two quadrants is a nice plus for the resume. A loss would not be overly damaging, but with MSU on the bubble, it could move them down closer to the cutline, where they don't want to be.

Matchup Notes

Mississippi State leads the all-time series in basketball against Ole Miss 149-120. The Bulldogs are 98-28 versus the Rebels at home. State has won four of the last six meetings in Starkville with Ole Miss' last win at the Hump coming in 2021. Chris Jans is looking to become the first MSU MBK coach to start his career against Rebels 3-1 since Rick Stansbury.

TV Broadcast

8:00 PM CT on ESPN2

Mississippi State basketball missed out on a great chance at a big road win the last time they faced the Rebels. Now they'll look to get their revenge over their rivals in Starkville. It should be a fantastic atmosphere at the Hump, as MSU announced that tickets are officially sold out. The Bulldogs have been playing great basketball lately, and they'll look to make it four wins in a row Wednesday night.