Mississippi State (9-7, 4-4) vs. No. 18 Tennessee (10-3, 4-3)
Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, Tennessee; Tuesday, 7 p.m. EST
BOTTOM LINE: No. 18 Tennessee presents a tough challenge for Mississippi State. Mississippi State has won one of its two games against ranked teams this season. Tennessee has dropped to No. 18 in the latest AP rankings following losses to Florida and Missouri last week.
SAVVY SENIORS: Tennessee has relied heavily on its seniors this year. John Fulkerson, Josiah-Jordan James, Victor Bailey Jr. and Yves Pons have combined to account for 54 percent of the team’s scoring this year and 59 percent of all Volunteers points over the last five games.DOMINANT D.J.: D.J. Stewart Jr. has connected on 37.7 percent of the 69 3-pointers he’s attempted and has gone 5 for 17 over his last three games. He’s also made 73.8 percent of his foul shots this season.
WINNING WHEN: The Volunteers are 9-0 when they shoot at least 66.7 percent from the foul line and 1-3 when they fall shy of that mark. The Bulldogs are 5-0 when they make eight or more 3-pointers and 4-7 when the team hits fewer than eight from long range.
ASSIST-TO-FG RATIO: The Volunteers have recently gotten baskets via assists more often than the Bulldogs. Tennessee has an assist on 41 of 63 field goals (65.1 percent) across its past three contests while Mississippi State has assists on 33 of 74 field goals (44.6 percent) during its past three games.
DID YOU KNOW: The disruptive Tennessee defense has forced opponents to turn the ball over on 24.6 percent of all possessions, the 17th-best rate among Division I teams. Mississippi State has a forced-turnover percentage of only 18.2 percent through 16 games (ranking the Bulldogs 254th).
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