Chris Jans and his Mississippi State basketball team are trying to get into the NCAA Tournament. Here’s what MSU needs to enjoy March Madness.
We have officially flipped another page in the calendar to March and the regular season’s final handful of games. Mississippi State is still a major factor in the NCAA Tournament picture, and here’s where things currently stand.
MSU in Joe Lunardi’s Current Bracketology: Last Four In (First Team)
MSU in Joe Lunardi’s Previous Bracketology: Last Four In (First Team)
Yesterday’s college basketball results
Mississippi State 74, South Carolina 68
The Bulldogs survived, and that’s all they asked for. South Carolina ran out of the gates hot, but State withstood the Gamecocks’ offensive attack.
While MSU (20-10, 44 in the NET) will take a win regardless of the score, the lack of conviction the win possessed might have hurt them. The Bulldogs dropped five spots in the NET, from 39 to 44, likely due to the nail-biting nature of the contest.
It is also worth noting that South Carolina rose in the NET, moving from 238 to 234. Their performance on the road against a Quad 1 opponent was rewarded; State, meanwhile, was penalized.
This drop in the NET makes Saturday’s game at Vanderbilt more important for the Bulldogs. They didn’t move in Joe Lunardi’s latest bracketology, staying put as the first team in his Last Four In.
Is a win in Memorial Gymnasium crucial for Mississippi State? That is unsure at this moment, but nevertheless, the Maroon and White got a win they desperately needed and remain in the Big Dance picture.
Boise State 66, San Diego State 60
Entering Tuesday, Boise State was one spot behind Mississippi State in Joe Lunardi’s Last Four In. They had a Quad 1 home opportunity against San Diego State, who was looking for the Mountain West championship. Sparked by a 14-0 run to end the game, the Broncos got that much-needed win.
Boise (22-7, 26 in the NET) has now risen above the Bulldogs in Lunardi’s latest projections, cuddling up to a snug position as part of his Last Four Byes.
This was not a result State wanted, as they are now possibly looking up at the Broncos in the fight for a Tournament bid.
Virginia 64, Clemson 57
Clemson hung on the bubble by a thread, needing a Quad 1 win over Virginia. The Tigers were part of Joe Lunardi’s First Four Out and couldn’t come out of Charlottesville with a victory, and their Tournament hopes might be dashed.
Clemson (21-9, 62 in the NET) was not a significant threat to Mississippi State’s chances entering Tuesday, but it’s relieving for the Bulldogs to avoid another team improving its resume.
Today’s Games to Watch
Auburn at Alabama (6:00 PM CT, ESPN2)
It is mind-boggling that Auburn is at risk of missing in the NCAA Tournament, but that is where they stand before 2023’s second installment of the IBOB.
The Tigers (19-10, 37 in the NET) are currently in Joe Lunardi’s Last Four Byes, just one spot ahead of State. They have lost five of their last seven contests, suffering a blowout loss at Rupp Arena this past Saturday.
It would be beneficial for the Bulldogs to see Alabama come away with a convincing victory. Lunardi says that Auburn is at risk of falling into the Last Four In, which could put State in position to jump ahead of them.
Utah State at UNLV (10:00 PM CT, CBS Sports Network)
Utah State (21-7, 30 in the NET) is still on the Tournament bubble in Lunardi’s First Four Out. They have an opportunity for a road conference win tonight, traveling to UNLV—16-11, 90 in the NET.
This is a Quad 2 game for the Aggies, who likely wouldn’t give State much of a run in the projections. A loss, however, could end their bubble hopes entirely.
Penn State at Northwestern (8:00 PM CT, Big Ten Network)
The Nittany Lions (17-12, 60 in the NET) are barely on the bubble as the second team in Lunardi’s Next Four Out.
While they don’t have much of a case currently, Penn State could make a jump if they snatch a Quad 1 win at Northwestern tonight; it would be their fourth Quad 1 victory. To avoid any competition, State would like to see the Wildcats hold serve at home.
Texas at TCU (8:00 PM CT, ESPN2)
This isn’t a bubble game, but it could impact Mississippi State.
One of State’s four Quad 1 wins was the contest that started the Bulldogs’ current run, January 28th over TCU. If the Horned Frogs could take a home triumph over Texas, currently 10th in the NET and projected to be a 2-seed, State’s Tournament resume would look even better.
Follow Daniel Black on Twitter at @DanielCBlack.
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