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Nebraska Basketball: NIT - Mississippi State Preview

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Huskers head to Starkville for the second time this season.

NCAA Basketball: SEC Conference Tournament-Tennessee vs Mississippi State Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

Mississippi State Preview

Date: Wednesday, March 13th

Time: 8:00pm CST

Location: Starkville, MS

Coach: Ben Howland (3rd Season)

Record: 21-11 (9-9 Southeastern Conference)

Last Meeting: Nebraska 76 Mississippi State 71 on October 22nd, 2017 (Exhibition Game)

The Huskers and bulldogs are playing each other once again. Only this time it is in the first round of the NIT. Can the Huskers beat them twice in one season?

The last time we saw the Bulldogs it was in late October down in Starkville. The Huskers went down to play in an exhibition charity game for Hurricane Irma Relief. The Huskers prevailed in the match up and we all quickly moved on to the rest of the season. The win did not count towards our regular season so little was made of it.

The 2017-18 Season:

Mississippi State finished the season 21-11 and 9-9 in the SEC which put them tied for 7th in the conference. They are 18-2 at home this season which is huge as this will be another home game for them. Yes, the Huskers get to face the Bulldogs not only twice but also at home.

The Bulldogs are lead by Quinndary Weatherspoon. The junior guard is averaging 14.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg, and 3.5 apg. As a second team all SEC player this year he has lead Mississippi State to a solid team in a fairly strong conference for basketball this season. He most recently won the Howell Trophy as the top college player in Mississippi. He is a solid point guard and will cause problems at times for the big red.

Next to Quinndary is his brother Nick Weatherspoon. The freshman guard is averaging 11.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg, and 2.0 apg. He was named to the All SEC Freshman Team

Now, it has yet to be said if he is playing on Wednesday as he suffered a game ending back injury against Tennessee in the SEC Tournament last week. He fell during a shot under the basket and a Tennessee player landed on him. Nick was put in a neck brace and carted off the court after the collision. He was checked out and cleared of any major issues so far. He is recovering but it is unknown if he will play against Nebraska.

Another big piece to the squad is forward Aric Holman. The junior is averaging 10.5 ppg and 6.6 rpg. He is also averaging 1.7 blocked shots a game in a team that is known for rejecting. He has had a total of 55 on the year. He’s good but not anything better than what Nebraska has seen so far this year in the Big Ten. If Nebraska stays strong on defense then he should be taken care of.

Also of note is Lamar Peters who is the number four player averaging double digits this year. The sophomore guard is sitting with 10.1 ppg, 2.3 rpg, and 4.0 apg. He was looked at by some as a 2018 NBA lottery pick. However, Lamar started the season out slow and really did not come into his own until the last couple of months. Some minor injuries and an early season three game suspension also probably had something to do with his transition for the team. Whatever woke him up has helped the Bulldogs finish the season fairly strong and in the #4 spot in the NIT.

Prediction:

Plain and simple, Nebraska needs to go out and dominate from the start. Mississippi State is a good team in a surprisingly good SEC this year. They are not world beaters by any shape or means but they have the coaching and talent to push Nebraska yet again to the very end.

If the Huskers come out pushing and control the pace of the game then it could be an early night. Give this Nebraska team the confidence that they need and they will win. However, if the Huskers play like they did against Michigan then it could be a long ride home from Starkville.

I’m racking my brain on this game just like I’ve been racking my brain on their NIT placement. I think it will all depends on what Cornhusker team shows up. If this game was at home I would easily put this in the win column but it’s not. Nebraska has not played well on the road against decent teams and that is just what they are going up against in Mississippi State.

Mississippi State University 67 University of Nebraska 62