MSU-Tennessee Pregame: Ray, Martin Match Similar Styles

Today’s game: MSU (7-8, 2-1 SEC) at Tennessee (8-7, 0-3), 3 p.m., SEC Network (Clay Matvick play-by-play, Joe Dean analyst), XM 199, Sirius 113.

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. | MSU is back on the road and hoping to shake off Wednesday’s bad loss to Alabama. You can check my preview in today’s Journal.

These two teams share similar styles and some similar stats, the latter of which you can view below. MSU coach Rick Ray and UT coach Cuonzo Martin are good friends, having coached together at Purdue for two years (2006-08). They both run motion offense and value in-your-face defense, and both squads seem to have bought into that style of play.

This is a homecoming for junior Jalen Steele, who was injured when MSU visited here two years ago. Steele starred at Knoxville’s Fulton High School. He was lights out last time MSU was on the road, scoring a career-high 21 points at Georgia. Then Steele went cold against Alabama, getting just five points on 2-of-8 shooting. One wonders how being home will affect him today.

OK, here’s everything else you need to get ready for this game. From today’s Journal, my game capsule.

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MSU at Tennessee

Tip: 3 p.m., Thompson-Boling Arena (21,678)

TV: SEC Network, ESPN3.com

Radio: MSU Network; Sirius 113; XM 199.

Series: Tennessee leads, 75-41.

Last year: MSU, 62-58 in Starkville.

Coaches – MSU: Rick Ray, 7-8 (first season); Tennessee: Cuonzo Martin, 88-63 overall (fifth season), 27-22 at Tennessee (second season).

Notes: MSU is looking to beat Tennessee three times in a row for the first time since taking four straight from 1994-96. … UT has lost four in a row, two of them at home. … Ray and Martin were both assistant coaches at Purdue from 2006-08. … Tennessee’s Jordan McRae has scored 20-plus points in four consecutive games.

MSU (7-8, 2-1 SEC)

Probable starters Pts Rebs Also

G Trivante Bloodman 6-0 So. 5.7 3.5 2.8a

G Jalen Steele 6-3 Jr. 10.6 3.6 1.1s

G Craig Sword 6-3 Fr. 9.6 3.1 1.9s

F Colin Borchert 6-8 Jr. 7.4 4.7 1.8b

C Gavin Ware 6-9 Fr. 8.1 7.0 52%FG

Key reserves

F Roquez Johnson 6-8 So. 11.4 5.0 65%FT

G Fred Thomas 6-5 Fr. 10.0 3.5 1.7s

G Tyson Cunningham 6-3 Jr. 2.7 2.8 1.5a

Key numbers

• Scoring average: 61.9

• Scoring defense: 63.3

• Field goal%: 41.0

• Opponent FG%: 40.5

• 3-point%: 27.8

• Opponent 3PT%: 34.8

• Free throw%: 66.1

• Opponent FT%: 61.9

• Rebound margin: –0.4

• Turnover margin: –0.5

Tennessee (8-7, 0-3 SEC)

Probable starters Pts Rebs Also

G Jordan McRae 6-5 Jr. 13.9 3.1

G Skylar McBee 6-3 Sr. 5.9 0.9 90%FT

G Josh Richardson 6-6 So. 8.3 5.1 50%FG

F Jarnell Stokes 6-8 So. 10.7 7.5 52%FG

F Kenny Hall 6-9 Sr. 6.5 5.9 53%FG

Key reserves

G Derek Reese 6-8 Fr. 7.0 2.8 40%FG

G Armani Moore 6-5 Fr. 2.3 1.3 53%FG

C Yemi Makanjuola 6-9 So. 2.5 3.4 48%FG

Key numbers

• Scoring average: 65.2

• Scoring defense: 62.7

• Field goal%: 42.7

• Opponent FG%: 40.9

• 3-point%: 29.3

• Opponent 3PT%: 29.4

• Free throw%: 66.2

• Opponent FT%: 73.0

• Rebound margin: +4.1

• Turnover margin: –1.3

I am the online content coordinator for DJournal.com. Previously at the Journal, I covered Mississippi State athletics (2008-13), high schools (2004-08), and was on the copy desk (2002-04). I'm working on a recipe for bacon-flavored coffee, which would solve all the world's problems.

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