Vols will have their hands full with Mississippi State

Aubrey Yates
March 15, 2019

The Texas A&M Aggies and Mississippi State Bulldogs will face off Thursday night in the second round of the SEC Tournament at the Bridgestone Arena.

Peters led a balanced attack for the Bulldogs, scoring 15 points (5-11 FG, 5-9 3PT), with Tyson Carter scoring 14, and Quinndary Weatherspoon adding an additional 12 points. A&M is 13-17 on the season, 6-12 in SEC play, 1-2 on a neutral floor, 14-16 against the spread and 18-12 with the under.

Sixth-seeded Mississippi State now will play No. 8 Tennessee for a second straight year in the quarterfinals Friday night in another rematch from the Bulldogs' final week of the regular season.

Coach Bryce Drew's job status also is in question after a combined 43 losses over the past two seasons, the latest to a team Vanderbilt lost to on March 2 in Texas by just seven points. Matt Ryan knocked down a 3 with 17:48 left to keep Vanderbilt with UNLV and Princeton as the only programs to hit a 3 in every game since the 3-point line was added for the 1986-87 season. Robert Woodard II finished off a 3-point play to push Mississippi State's lead to 50-30 with 14:21 to go, and the Bulldogs pushed the lead to as much as 30 on a 3-pointer by Peters with 4:06 left.

In a conference and conference tournament historically dominated by Kentucky, the Volunteers are eager to end the lengthy conference tournament title drought after claiming a share of the SEC regular-season title a year ago.

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Flagg has found his way over the second-half of the season and is peaking when the depleted Aggies need a consistent playmaker the most.

The Aggies are set to play against Vanderbilt in the first round of the SEC conference tournament on Wednesday. Kennedy said it was easy to see the difference in personnel, experience and physicality in the first five minutes. It just has been that type of year. That is the last time we won it. Tonight we weren't razor sharp.

Mississippi State: The Bulldogs dominated the undermanned Aggies, especially inside. You can't win at this level and in this league with the type of teams we're playing against if you're not at your best.

"There's definitely some things that we recognized several months ago, some necessary changes that needed to happen", Drew said. That's back-to-back games where we had 22, our previous game against Texas A&M, our last game of the year, then 17 today. "We knew we just had to kind of step on their neck a little bit and just keep getting stops".

ESPN's telecast reiterated Billy Kennedy's message to his team amidst reports his tenure at A&M will soon be over - 'play for each other'. Tennessee (27-4) has split its two games with the Wildcats and appear destined for a semifinal showdown Saturday if both can advance Friday night.

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