February 15, 2010
SEC Division leaders meet on Tuesday
What most experts predicted in the preseason has come to pass.
Both Mississippi State and Kentucky were expected to be atop of their respective divisions when they met head to head on Feb. 16. Both the road that both teams have traveled to this point has been very different.
The Wildcats enter Tuesday's contest at 24-1 and ranked the No. 2 team in the nation while MSU has struggled with injury and depth concerns throughout the year coming in at 17-7.
The Bulldogs seemed to have weathered the storm somewhat and come into the big game riding a two-game winning streak over Western Division foes Ole Miss and Auburn.
"We've just come off a tough stretch against Ole Miss and Auburn with two games in three days and now you've got Kentucky staring you in the face," said MSU head coach Rick Stansbury. "It will be our third game in six days and that's a challenge in and of itself. The biggest challenge is playing that Kentucky team. They present all kinds of problems at every position. It's not just Kentucky but the players that they have. It's been well documented about the talent that they have. They have great depth, experience, size - whatever they need to go with. They are 24-1 and very few people have figured out how to stop them or even slow them down. That will be our challenge tomorrow night."
Stansbury and the Bulldogs have won three-straight over Kentucky but the task Tuesday night will be their biggest to date.
"To beat a Kentucky you've got to do a lot of things special in here to have a chance to beat them," Stansbury said. "You can't have an ordinary game to have a chance against them. You have to have a bunch of people step up."
State will have to contend with the conference's hottest player in point guard John Wall. The freshman sensation is averaging 17 points and 6.4 assists per game and was the preseason pick for SEC Player of the Year.
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