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JwgreDeux

Mississippi State - a preview

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JwgreDeux    240

Mississippi State vs. Auburn (M Basketball)

Auburn (15-8, 4-6) vs. Mississippi State (14-8, 5-5)

  • Tuesday, February 7th, 2017
  • 8:00PM CT
  • ESPNU / WatchESPN
  • Auburn, AL (Auburn Arena)

Another Tuesday and another chance to take a step towards postseason play. The last two such Tuesdays have gone poorly from opening tip, things must change today if we want to make a run at the NCAA. Auburn comes in playing pretty well, winners of 4 out of their last 6. Despite the losses mentioned, AU has steadily been climbing the RPI ladder over the last three weeks, improving from near 100 to just shy of 60. Mississippi State comes in trending the opposite direction, losers of 4 out of their last 6, with an RPI of 112. According the the vegas line, Auburn is a solid home favorite of -5 tonight, most metrics like AU over MSU as well. 

Don't sleep on the bulldogs. Though they have struggled as of late, early in SEC play they reeled off three wins in a row vs LSU, Akry, and A&M. AU is yet to win three league games in a row, in fact a win tonight would only be the second time we have won back to back league games. Early in league play MSU was scoring in the 80s routinely, but in their last three they are only averaging 63 points per game. One possible reason is that one of their point guards has missed most of the last three games (IJ Ready). He doesn't give them much in the way of points per game, but does give them production in the form of assists and steals. He is questionable for the game tonight and we are yet to see if he will play. In any event, their best player is clearly Weatherspoon. He is a 6-4 guard and averages 16 points and 5 boards per game. Heron, Duanans, Brown will all spend some time guarding him tonight and we will see how far Heron's defense has improved. They don't have a particularly big lineup, playing a couple of 6-10 guys and 6-7ish forwards. Wiley will have a chance to assert himself inside. Due to their size we may see Spencer rested tonight if he isn't 100% as MSU is not a particularly good rebounding team. IF Spencer is good to go then we may find ourselves with an advantage on the boards. 

MSU doesn't present any problems we haven't seen this season. We a a better team and should win this game for many reasons, but we know this team has shown inconsistencies and is not in a place where we know what we will see when the ball is tossed. Things I think CBP will focus on is getting off to a good start. Harper is playing well of late, winning the Freshman of the week award for the second time last week, but I still believe Johnson could see early playing time if Harper gets off to a slow start. We will likely see Purifoy get another start tonight, and I would argue that we need to insert Brown into the starting lineup and put Dunans back in his sixth man role where he seems to be at his best. I think at this point we know what we are going to get out of Heron every night on offense. The big question is what will we get from this team on defense.

As I said, MSU has scored in the 60s in their last three games. We have only held one team in the 60s in all of SEC play. This is good timing for someone, either our defense can find itself against a struggling MSU offense, or vise versa. I have seen some signs of the defense improving, better communication, fewer wide open shots allowed, and increased ball pressure. The next step is to collect more defensive rebounds. Not only will it improve the amount of second chance points we allow, but it will also allow us to get out in transition more and score more fast-break points.  

While this may not be a must win, this is a big chance for us to gain ground in the SEC standings and get our RPI into the 50s. It is the starting point of any post season push that we could make. A loss here, to a 100+ RPI team at home would require us to beat UF and some other big name in the SEC tourney to overcome it. Simply put, IF this team is going to the post season (without anything miraculous), we win this game. 

Box out and get this win. War Eagle!

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jared52    897

You know, when you started your previews and "what I saw" threads, I was like, "Great, another self-important poster thinking they deserve their own discussion threads." However, you have proven to be a very valuable poster here Deux and I appreciate your insight. Thank you for your insight, especially into other teams. I don't watch many other games so I tend to lean on how teams have matched up historically. I usually imagine MSU to be big and athletic like UGA this year, but minus a deep threat. That probably isn't the case this year. But I haven't seen them for more than 5 minutes this season. 

But to be honest, it seems that in the SEC, the losses have come down to one thing, AU. If they show up, they can compete with anyone it seems, at least offensively. Defense and rebound seems suspect every game, but when they get going on offense, it's a fun thing to watch. Seeing so many guys get points against uat was great. You don't have to go to that one guy (like uat was going to Coleman), you have options. And it can be anyone of about 5 guys' nights. If AU can be AU, then the NIT is in reach for sure. A win tonight is a must for that to be a reality without having to win a couple they wouldn't be favored in. 

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JwgreDeux    240
1 hour ago, jared52 said:

You know, when you started your previews and "what I saw" threads, I was like, "Great, another self-important poster thinking they deserve their own discussion threads." However, you have proven to be a very valuable poster here Deux and I appreciate your insight. Thank you for your insight, especially into other teams. I don't watch many other games so I tend to lean on how teams have matched up historically. I usually imagine MSU to be big and athletic like UGA this year, but minus a deep threat. That probably isn't the case this year. But I haven't seen them for more than 5 minutes this season. 

But to be honest, it seems that in the SEC, the losses have come down to one thing, AU. If they show up, they can compete with anyone it seems, at least offensively. Defense and rebound seems suspect every game, but when they get going on offense, it's a fun thing to watch. Seeing so many guys get points against uat was great. You don't have to go to that one guy (like uat was going to Coleman), you have options. And it can be anyone of about 5 guys' nights. If AU can be AU, then the NIT is in reach for sure. A win tonight is a must for that to be a reality without having to win a couple they wouldn't be favored in. 

Thanks. I started it, really to try and increase the posts on this forum as it get so little traffic compared to Football and Recruiting. I have enjoyed it, even though I missed a few games due to travel and work etc.  I played ball for a long time at a pretty good level, watch a lot of ball, and have close friends who are in the coaching profession. That being said I have no inside info to the program or players, just observations based on what I see and hear. 

As to MSU's shooting, they don't shoot great, but they are streaky. Weatherspoon specifically. He has a handful of games where he shoots crazy percentages from 3. We have let a few guys have career nights vs our defense, so it will be important to keep him contained, on the perimeter specifically. That is a tough task for Heron if he draws it, and Brown would give up some size if he draws it. Interesting to see who CBP puts on him. 

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JwgreDeux    240

One additional note. I reading the post game notes and pre game notes for this game, CBP has made a few comments about Purifoy that I find interesting. In complimenting his offense and defense and talking about how nice it was to get him "back" CBP said it was good to have him "engaged."  I don't want to make to much of this, but seeing has Purifoy has been off the last few games, I thought I'd mention it. 

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boomstick    256
1 hour ago, JwgreDeux said:

One additional note. I reading the post game notes and pre game notes for this game, CBP has made a few comments about Purifoy that I find interesting. In complimenting his offense and defense and talking about how nice it was to get him "back" CBP said it was good to have him "engaged."  I don't want to make to much of this, but seeing has Purifoy has been off the last few games, I thought I'd mention it. 

Noticed that as well. It seems his role or level of reliance changed when Wiley was added to the fold. He became another guy instead of being one of the focal points like earlier in the season. I don't know if it messed with his head, but his attitude and demeanor were quite different the last month than it was in November/December. It definitely showed in his enthusiasm at times. Hopefully, he's moved past that and has seen how he can be a significant contributor to this team. It really makes this team work well when he plays well.

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JwgreDeux    240
19 minutes ago, boomstick said:

Noticed that as well. It seems his role or level of reliance changed when Wiley was added to the fold. He became another guy instead of being one of the focal points like earlier in the season. I don't know if it messed with his head, but his attitude and demeanor were quite different the last month than it was in November/December. It definitely showed in his enthusiasm at times. Hopefully, he's moved past that and has seen how he can be a significant contributor to this team. It really makes this team work well when he plays well.

Without any specific knowledge I'm always reluctant to question a guys attitude for several reasons. Purifoy never seemed to display a bad attitude on the court so I have no idea if he did off of it, but Pearl used that word engaged more than once when talking about him. The only thing I have noticed, is he seemed to be overly passive on offense a few times, had an open shot and didn't shoot, but I will be watching him more tonight to see how this develops. Maybe nothing.

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au302    79

We need Spencer back. I know Ms. State isn't the largest team but if we can get him back that could help on the boards. Also, I liked the idea of putting Brown back in the starting lineup. I've been very happy with him. He had a rough go but he's kept his head down and provided a lot for this team. I may be wrong but I think I remember hearing that he finally figured out he was doing something wrong in his shot before Bama so that could be why he shot better. I hope that's the case. Anyways, props to Bryce for sticking to it in the tough times, hopefully he and the rest of the guys play well tonight. WDE!!

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auburnphan    573
2 hours ago, JwgreDeux said:

Without any specific knowledge I'm always reluctant to question a guys attitude for several reasons. Purifoy never seemed to display a bad attitude on the court so I have no idea if he did off of it, but Pearl used that word engaged more than once when talking about him. The only thing I have noticed, is he seemed to be overly passive on offense a few times, had an open shot and didn't shoot, but I will be watching him more tonight to see how this develops. Maybe nothing.

There was the play in the bama game where he goes to the basket and jumps, it seemed like after that play he trusted his ankle again.  I thought that was the moment where he re-engaged in the game and wasn't playing to not get hurt more

Edited by auburnphan

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