Mississippi State Basketball's SEC Tournament Opponent Set

Mississippi State basketball needs a good showing in the SEC Tournament to reach March Madness. They now know their opening round opponent.

Feb 24, 2024; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs guard Trey Fort (11) dunks
Feb 24, 2024; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs guard Trey Fort (11) dunks / Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Mississippi State basketball (19-12, 8-10 SEC) wrapped up the regular season with an overtime loss at home to South Carolina. It was the fourth-straight loss for the Bulldogs, who now find themselves in real danger of missing the NCAA Tournament.

As a result, State will enter the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament with work to do if they want to go dancing. It makes their SEC Tournament matchup that much more important. So who will Mississippi State basketball face off with in the SEC Tournament?

Mississippi State basketball's opening SEC Tournament Opponent

After earning the 9-seed in the SEC standings, Mississippi State basketball will play 8-seed LSU on Thursday in Nashville. Two weeks ago, Mississippi State played arguably their best game of the year in Baton Rouge when they took down the Tigers 87-67 for what was at the time their fifth-straight win.

Since that win, things have fallen apart for MSU, who went 0-4 over the final two weeks. LSU basketball won three of their final four games to finish the regular season 17-14 overall and 9-9 in SEC play. Though State knows they're capable of handling the Tigers, they cannot afford a performance like the ones they've put out recently.

SEC Men's Basketball Tournament bracket

Here's a look at the entire SEC Tournament bracket, beyond Mississippi State basketball's opener with LSU.

Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, and Auburn earned double-byes as the top four seeds. Vanderbilt and Arkansas and Georgia and Missouri will play in the opening round games as the bottom four seeds.

The winner of Mississippi State and LSU will go on to face 1-seed, SEC champion Tennessee. Mississippi State faced Tennessee once this season. The Bulldogs upset the Volunteers in Starkville 77-72 in early January.

LSU is a must-win for Mississippi State basketball

Just two weeks ago, Mississippi State basketball was on the verge of becoming a NCAA Tournament lock. But after losing their last four regular season games, they are firmly on the bubble with work to do in Nashville. The Bulldogs cannot afford to lose their SEC Tournament opener. They must beat LSU to feel good about making the Big Dance.