TOM IN KC: Bulldogs Using Previous Experiences to Prepare for Sweet 16 and Beyond
STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI/MSU Athletics) — Mississippi State is playing in the Sweet 16 for the third-straight year.
However, for the first time, the Bulldogs are playing in the game as a No. 1 seed. After making the program’s first Elite Eight a year ago, MSU seeks to do it again Friday as it faces fourth-seeded NC State in the Kansas City Region semifinal.
Tip from the Sprint Center is set for 6 p.m. The game will be shown on ESPN, with Pam Ward, Gail Goestenkors and Courtney Lyle calling the action. The contest can also be streamed on www.WatchESPN.com and the WatchESPN app.
Jason Crowder and Charlie Winfield will describe play on the MSU Radio Network, www.HailState.com/Plus and the TuneIn app.
Mississippi State earned its third-straight berth in the region semifinal with a 71-56 win against Oklahoma State Monday in Starkville. That victory capped a perfect 18-0 home record and tied last season’s win total with a 34-1 record.
All-Americans Victoria Vivians and Teaira McCowan led State’s second-round win, scoring 23 and 21 points, respectively. McCowan also grabbed 18 rebounds in the game.
The duo has been solid through the opening two rounds of the tournament. Vivians averaged 21.5 points and 9.5 rebounds last weekend in Humphrey Coliseum, while McCowan tallied 19.5 ppg while hauling down 15.5 rebounds.
Morgan William joined her teammates in double figures with 17 points against the Cowgirls. The hero of last season’s Elite Eight win against Baylor and the historic Final Four victory against UConn, William has been phenomenal in this year’s tournament as well, tallying 13.0 ppg and shooting 47.6 percent from the field.
Friday’s game features two of the nation’s top defenses. MSU rates 16th in the nation allowing 55.6 ppg, while the Wolfpack average 56.8 ppg en route to compiling a 26-8 record on the season.
NC State, which finished 11-5 in the ACC, has four players scoring double figures on the year, led by Chelsea Nelson’s 13.1 ppg. Nelson also tops the Wolfpack on the boards with 9.6 per game.
Opponent: NC State (NCAA Tournament Kansas City Region Semifinal)
Location: Kansas City, Mo. (Sprint Center)
Date: Friday, March 23
Time: 6 p.m. CT
Television: ESPN (PxP – Pam Ward; Analyst – Gail Goestenkors; Reporter – Courtney Lyle)
Watch Online: WatchESPN.com or WatchESPN App
Listen: MSU Radio Network, HailState.com/Plus, TuneIn App (PxP – Jason Crowder; Analyst – Charlie Winfield)
NORTH CAROLINA STATE (Series tied 1-1)
At MSU: 0-0
At NC State: 0-0
At Neutral Sites: Series tied 1-1
12/21/2001 W 71-58 N
3/13/1999 L 57-76 N
- Mississippi State is playing in the Sweet 16 for the 3rd-straight year and 4th time overall.
- Monday’s win was MSU’s 34th victory, tying last season’s National Finalist squad for the most wins in school history.
- NC State was the first opponent MSU ever faced in the NCAA Tournament (1998-99).
- After going 7-7 in their first 7 NCAA Tournament appearances, the Bulldogs are 9-2 in their last 3 berths.
- The Bulldogs finished the home slate 18-0, the first undefeated home campaign by an MSU men’s or women’s team. State has won 20-straight home games going back to 2016-17.
- SEC Coach of the Year Vic Schaefer was named WBCA National Coach of the Year. He is a finalist for Naismith National Coach of the Year.
- The WBCA named Johnnie Harris Division I Assistant Coach of the Year and Carly Thibault-DuDonis Top 30 Under 30.
- Victoria Vivians is a First Team All-American by USA Today and a Third Team selection by ESPNW. Teammate Teaira McCowan was named a First Team All-American by ESPNW.
- McCowan and Vivians are Wooden Award finalists.
- Through 2 NCAA Tournament games, Vivians is averaging 21.5 ppg, 9.5 rpg and is shooting 44.1% from the field, 62.5% from 3-point range and 8-for-8 at the line.
- Vivians tallied her 17th 20-point scoring game of the year. She has double figures in 34 of State’s 35 games this season.
- With the game’s opening bucket, Vivians passed former All-American Tan White for 2nd at State in career scoring. Her 2,443 points are tops among active SEC players.
- McCowan recorded her 25th double-double of the year. She is 2nd at MSU in career double-doubles with 35.
- Morgan William’s 17 points against OSU gives her a 13.0 average in this year’s tournament. She has 34 assists to just 8 turnovers in her last 8 NCAA Tournament games.