South Carolina Gamecocks at Mississippi State Bulldogs – NCAAM February 24

South Carolina (5-11, 3-9) at Mississippi State (12-11, 6-9)

  • Time: 4PM PST | 6PM CST | 7PM EST
  • Location: Humphrey Coliseum, Starkville, MS
  • TV: SEC Network

Opening Tip

This has been the toughest season of coach Frank Martin’s nine-year tenure in Columbia as the Gamecocks had three covid pauses and then once the team started playing, it did not defend anywhere close to the standards that Martin has established throughout his career whether it be at Kansas State or South Carolina.

South Carolina has lost five in a row after a 72-66 win at Florida on Feb. 3. The Gamecocks are working to stay out of a play-in game in the SEC Tournament openers two weeks from tonight and a win here and in one of the next two could vault the Gamecocks into the middle of things as the SEC is another conference that is proving there is no rhyme or reason for the results each night out.

Mississippi State ended a two-game skid with a win over Ole Miss on Saturday. Coach Ben Howland’s Bulldogs are 3-3 over the last six games as wins over Ole Miss and South Carolina came on the road.

The Bulldogs defeated South Carolina, 75-59, in Columbia on Feb. 6 as DJ Stewart scored 29 points, including four three and the Bulldogs shot 46.4 percent from the field -10-of-19 from three – for the win.

Vs. The Spread

South Carolina:

  • The Sooners are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games
  • The total has gone UNDER in 11 of Oklahoma’s last 16 outings
  • OU is 1-4 ATS in it’s last five vs. the Wildcats

Mississippi State:

  • K-State is 4-1 ATS in it’s last 5 games
  • The UNDER has been the play in 4 of the Wildcats’ last 5 games
  • The total has gone UNDER in 4 of the last 5 between OU and K-State

Last Time Out

South Carolina could not manage Missouri’s hot shooting guards in Dru and Mark Smith as the Tigers took a 93-78 win over the Gamecocks on Saturday. Missouri shot 57.6 percent from the floor in rolling to a 45-29 lead at halftime. AJ Lawson led the Gamecocks with 22 points.

Iverson Molinar and D.J. Stewart had 17 and 16 points, respectively, as Mississippi State took a 66-56 win over Ole Miss on Saturday in Oxford. The Bulldogs scored 36 points in the paint and held Devontae Shuler to 1-of-15 from the floor and 0-of-6 from the three-point line.

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
South Carolina +5.5 (-110) +200 O 145 (-115)
Mississippi State -5.5 (-110) -240 U 145 (-105)

Advantage, South Carolina

South Carolina Gamecocks Logo 101x101The Gamecocks can’t get a bead on their defense at all as opponents shoot 45.9 percent on the season as SEC opposition has shot 46.3 percent and 36.4 percent in league play. Defending Stewart and Molinar on the perimeter becomes a chore if they’re comfortable and in rhythm like Dru and Mark Smith were on Saturday. Being disruptors is important as the Gamecocks do turn opponents over 16.6 times per game and average 8.5 steals.

Key Gamecocks Stat:

This feels like a matchup of the two top scorers on each team as A.J. Lawson (18.3 ppg) and Keyshawn Bryant (14.2 ppg) combine for 32.5 points per game for the Gamecocks while Iverson Molinar (16.9 ppg) and D.J. Stewart (16.7) team up for 33.6 points per game for the Bulldogs. Lawson is third in the SEC in scoring while Molinar and Stewart check in at fourth and fifth. The game within a game suggests that the three-point game with Lawson (50) vs Stewart and Molinar, who combine for 66 makes could be a major storyline.

X-Factor:

Jermaine Cousinard is the Gamecocks’ third leading scorer (9.7 ppg), but is listed as questionable. Who steps up? How about Justin Minaya? He has struggled in his last two games as he has gone only 2-of-10 from the field after a season-high 15 points vs. Alabama. Minaya feels like he’s waiting to erupt and do it consistently over the last few games of the season.

Advantage, Mississippi State

Mississippi State Bulldogs LogoIf the Bulldogs get rolling from the backcourt, Tolu Smith (12.8 ppg, 8.4 rpg) benefits on the inside with his post-up and offensive rebounding ability. Smith is good at finding his spots and posting up which are two reasons why he makes 58.8 percent of his shots. South Carolina’s Wildens Leveque and Jalen McCrary will have to play within themselves vs. Smith and active Abdul Ado (5.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg) who also works the glass.

Key Bulldogs Stat:

Balance is the key for Ben Howland’s team as Mississippi State is 8-2 when at least four Bulldogs score in double figures.The Bulldogs are also 7-1 when they make at least eight threes and are also 6-1 when they notch 12 or less turnovers.

X-Factor:

Getting on the boards with Smith and Ado is a major point of emphasis as South Carolina is only (+0.2) in rebound margin. They have only scored double digits in second chance points once in their last five games.

Winner: Mississippi State (-5.5) 75, South Carolina 67

The Bets
Mississippi State -5.5
-110
Mississippi State Bulldogs
-240
UNDER 145
-105
Sub Categories:
Kenneth Cross / Author

Kenneth Cross is a new entry to The Sports Geek staff as he has 25 years of experience in print, broadcast, and internet sports journalism. Cross is a lover of all sports, but college basketball is his passion. He estimates that he has seen around 1,500 college basketball games - live and in-person - and hopes that grows this season. If you listen to Radio, you have likely heard him on Sundays covering the Carolina Panthers for some 20 years. Now in Tampa Bay, he works as a national radio correspondent.