2014 SEC Tournament Preview: No. 14 Mississippi State vs. No. 11 Vanderbilt
The second game of the first round of the 2014 SEC tournament pits the No. 14 Mississippi State Bulldogs against the No. 11 Vanderbilt Commodores at 9:30 p.m. ET on the SEC Network and ESPN3. The winner will face the Missouri Tigers in the second round.
The Bulldogs finished the 2013-14 college basketball season with a disappointing 13-18 record after having high expectations with the talented sophomore class available. Craig Sword has had a good season, but the rest of the team just couldn’t mesh, as every so often a player would step forward to help Sword but then fade back into obscurity the next game.
Their best win was against the Ole Miss Rebels very early in the season, and they finished SEC play with a 13-game losing streak.
For Vanderbilt, this season is a tale of what might have been. Finishing with a 15-15 record, head coach Kevin Stallings dismissed the team’s leading scorer in January and had zero players remaining from his 2012 recruiting class. The Commodores were even on the 2014 NCAA tournament bubble for a while, but eight losses by six points or less sealed their fate.
Senior Kyle Fuller led the team in assists and Senior Rod Odom led the team in scoring, but it was Fuller’s threes that kept them alive. Expect big things in the SEC tournament if he can start making threes again.
Mississippi State is probably the better team when it comes to talent, but Stallings is one of the bets coaches in the country. Expect Vanderbilt to not blow out the Bulldogs, but their 3-point shooting and the rebounding of freshman Damian Jones will be too much for Mississippi State, meaning Vanderbilt wins 64-58.