AP NEWS

Mississippi St Preview Capsule

October 24, 2018 GMT

No. 18 Mississippi State

Last season: 25-12, lost 75-60 to Penn State in the semifinals of the NIT.

Nickname: Bulldogs

Coach: Ben Howland

Conference: Southeastern

Who’s gone: Guard Eli Wright (transfer), guard/forward Xavian Stapleton (transfer)

Who’s back: The Bulldogs return a huge chunk of their production from last season, including their top six scores. Senior guard Quinndary Weatherspoon is back after leading the team with 14.4 points per game. Other guards include Nick Weatherspoon (10.8 ppg), Lamar Peters (9.6 ppg) and Tyson Carter (8.9 ppg). In the frontcourt, Aric Holman averaged 10.9 points and 6.7 rebounds last season while Abdul Ado averaged 7.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and nearly two blocks.

Who’s new: The Bulldogs have a trio of freshmen who will likely get immediate playing time, including McDonald’s All-American forward Reggie Perry, and guards D.J. Stewart and Robert Woodard.

The skinny: Howland has built Mississippi State into an SEC contender over four seasons. The Bulldogs have a lot of talent, and if they can improve their outside shooting, should have a shot to win just about every game.

Expectations: The Bulldogs were picked fourth in the SEC preseason poll by the league’s media and are widely expected to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009. Las Vegas has Mississippi State’s odds of winning a national title at 120/1, which obviously isn’t great, but it’s a lot better than recent seasons.

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