MSU to Play USM in Atlanta Regional

Mississippi State is officially back in the NCAA postseason for the first time since 2007, as the entire 64-team field was announced this morning on ESPN. Here’s the bracket.

The Bulldogs will play in the Atlanta Regional as a No. 3 seed against a familar foe – Southern Miss, the No. 2 seed. The game is Friday at 2 p.m. Host and No. 1 seed Georgia Tech will play No. 4 Austin Peay in the other first-round game at 6. It’s a double-elimination format.

Ticket and TV info will be released later.

It’ll be the first time for State to play an in-state team in a regional.

Coach John Cohen called the MSU-USM pairing an “interesting” one.

“It didn’t surprise me, because I know the NCAA committee traditionally has liked to create first-round matchups like that,” he said. “We’ve seen that before. That didn’t really shock me at all. I felt like Tallahassee or Atlanta, especially, were naturals for an SEC school.”

The Atlanta Regional is paired up with the Gainesville Regional, which of course is hosted by SEC Tournament champion Florida.

The Bulldogs (34-23) won its regular-season meeting with USM, 5-4, in Pearl on April 5. The Golden Eagles are 39-17 and at one time were projected to host a Regional, but they lost six of their last eight games and went 1-2 in the Conference USA Tournament, and they’ve had some personnel issues.

“We probably won’t provide anything they haven’t seen before, and they probably won’t provide anything we haven’t seen before,” Cohen said. “I think it should be a great matchup.”

MSU is one of seven SEC teams to make the field. Notable omissions include LSU and Ole Miss.

The top eight NCAA seeds were announced, with Virginia named overall No. 1. From the SEC, Florida is No. 2, South Carolina No. 4 and Vanderbilt No. 6. All those teams, plus eight others, will host Regionals this week, but the top eight get to host Super Regionals if they advance.