Although the wounds are still fresh from Thursday night’s 71-65 home loss to Ole Miss, Mississippi State will have very little time to recover.
The Bulldogs had only one day to get ready to host 18th-ranked Arkansas at 3 p.m. today on Fox Sports Net.
“We’ve got to get ourselves mentally and physically prepared to play Arkansas with such a quick turnaround,” said MSU coach Rick Ray. “We haven’t had this turnaround yet so we’ve got to make sure we’ve rested our bodies as well as mentally be prepared to move on to Arkansas.”
The good news for MSU is that they have already met the Razorbacks once this season. The bad news is that things did not go well for the Bulldogs.
Arkansas (21-5, 10-3) dominated the previous outing 61-41 in Fayetteville on Feb. 7. The Bulldogs scored just nine points and made just two shots from the field in the opening half.
“We can’t worry about what happened last time,” said MSU guard Craig Sword. “We’ve just got to go forward.”
Arkansas coach Mike Anderson expects to see a different Bulldogs squad this time around simply due to the change in venue. State owns a 19-6 record against the Razorbacks in Starkville and have won 12 of the last 13 in the series inside Humphrey Coliseum.
“They’re a team that’s really athletic and they really get after it at home,” Anderson said. “They’re quick and attack the glass. They seem like they have more possessions when they play at the Hump. So it’s going to be a tall, big challenge for our basketball team.”
The Bulldogs enter today’s contest with a 12-14 overall record and a 5-8 mark in conference play. Mississippi State has lost three of its last four and face back-to-back ranked opponents in Arkansas and also No. 1 Kentucky during the upcoming week.
MSU has lost eight straight outings to ranked teams and its last win over a ranked opponent came against Arizona in November 2011.
The Bulldogs are hoping to have senior forward Roquez Johnson back after leaving Thursday’s game with concussion symptoms in the first half. Johnson is State’s second leading scorer and rebounder averaging 10 points and 5.5 boards.
Also questionable for today’s game is MSU sophomore point guard I.J. Ready (ankle), a Little Rock native.
Arkansas has won five straight following an 84-69 home win over Missouri on Wednesday and sit in second place in the league standings.
Reigning SEC Player of the Week Bobby Portis paces the Hogs with 17.6 points and 8.7 rebounds. The 6-foot-11 sophomore forward recorded a double-double during the previous game against MSU with 19 points and 11 boards.