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STARKVILLE, Miss. – Tupelo is a progressive city best known as the “Birthplace of Elvis Presley.” In December, it’s going to be known for college basketball.

Tuesday, Mississippi State announced it will be playing Southeastern Louisiana on Dec. 13 in Tupelo at the newly-renovated BancorpSouth Arena.

It will be the fourth time the Bulldogs have played in the venue, with the first outing resulting in an 80-60 win against Tennessee-Martin on Dec. 20, 1997. The Bulldogs also claimed a 75-46 victory against Northwestern State on Nov. 21, 1998, while walking away with a 77-59 win against New Orleans on Dec. 13, 2003.

“We are excited about bringing Mississippi State basketball to Tupelo next season,” MSU coach Rick Ray said. “Tupelo has always been a supportive and very strong fan base for Mississippi State athletics, and we are glad that we are able to return the favor by playing a game for those fans in Tupelo. My hope would be to alternate games every season between Tupelo and Jackson in order to reach out to Mississippi State supporters in both communities.”

The BancorpSouth Arena, which seats 8,000 for basketball, is currently undergoing a $1.6 million renovation. The facility has played host to numerous collegiate basketball, hockey and indoor football games, in addition to concerts, rodeos, circuses and wrestling events.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Mississippi State basketball back to the BancorpSouth Arena as part of our 20th anniversary season,” said Todd Hunt, the arena’s executive director. “Our first regular season NCAA basketball game saw MSU defeat UT-Martin back in 1998. Since then the Bulldogs have made two more appearances in Tupelo, winning both. We’re hoping that Coach Ray can continue that winning streak in his first trip to Tupelo.”

Tip-off time and ticket information will be made available at a later date.


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