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Texas A&M vs. Mississippi State
When and Where: Thursday, March 14, Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tenn., 9:30 p.m. EST.
Set for its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 10 years, Mississippi State looks to enhance its seeding starting with Thursday’s second-round SEC tournament matchup with Texas A&M in Nashville, Tenn.
Aggies extend Kennedy’s run at least one more game
The 11th-seeded Aggies (14-17) put aside the rumors and distractions of this being coach Billy Kennedy’s final games with the team Wednesday night, downing last-place Vanderbilt 69-52.
"…playing for each other, getting everyone involved. We rely on everybody to win games."
— Texas A&M Basketball (@aggiembk) March 14, 2019
Savion Flagg scored a career-high 29 points on 12-of-16 shooting as Texas A&M held Vanderbilt to 19 first-half points while building a 15-point lead in the first 20 minutes and cruised from there. Jay Jay Chandler added 13 points and Josh Nebo chipped in 11 off the bench as the Aggies shot an efficient 53.8 percent from the field.
Texas A&M has not been in the SEC tournament quarterfinals since it was the top seed in 2016 when it lost to Kentucky. The Aggies are now trying to avenge their loss to Mississippi State in the regular-season finale Saturday, falling 92-81 in Starkville.
Flagg had 23 points in that defeat, one of five 20-point games in his last eight to raise his scoring average to 13.6 points. The sophomore has also gone 22 for 45 (48.9 percent) from 3-point range in that eight-game stretch.
Weatherspoon, Perry set to lead Bulldogs to big things
Seeded sixth after finishing 10-8 in conference play, Mississippi State (22-9) is expecting big things for itself and with good reason. Despite a 10-year absence from the NCAA Tournament, the Bulldogs did reach the semifinals of last year’s NIT and played a fairly challenging non-conference schedule in addition to the rigors of SEC action.
Ready to work 😤
— Mississippi State Basketball (@HailStateMBK) March 14, 2019
Quinndary Weatherspoon was a first-team all-SEC selection after averaging a conference-best 19.3 points in league play while finishing third overall at 18.5 per contest. He is aided by freshman Reggie Perry, who averaged 11.2 points and 8.2 rebounds in SEC play, significant ticks higher than his season marks of 9.7 and 7.1 per game, respectively, on the season.
“(Weatherspoon’s awards were) very well-deserved,” Mississippi State coach Ben Howland told the Starkville Daily News. “After two years in a row of being second team, I’m sure he had to be unanimous on that team, then Reggie Perry making the All-Freshman Team is very well-deserved. He had an outstanding freshman campaign in the regular season.”
Weatherspoon had 20 points in Saturday’s win over Texas A&M while Lamar Peters and Tyson Carter took care of the perimeter scoring, combining to hit 11 of 19 from 3-point range. Mississippi State finished with a season-high 16 treys and improved to 8-2 when hitting 10 or more.
The Bulldogs have won six of their last eight games entering this contest, with the losses coming at Auburn and Tennessee. They also have won three straight over Texas A&M.
Mississippi State is:
- 4-1 ATS in its last five games vs. SEC opponents.
- 18-8 ATS in its last 26 games vs. sub-.500 teams.
- 4-1 ATS in its last five games following a straight up win.
- The over is 8-0 in its last eight Thursday games.
Texas A&M is:
- 2-6 ATS in its last eight games following a straight up win.
- 7-16 ATS in its last 23 games as a neutral site underdog.
- 1-4 ATS in its last five games vs. above-.600 teams.
- The over is 4-0 in its last four Thursday games.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Bulldogs are in the perfect place to potentially make some noise in the SEC tournament if it can get past this game and set up an expected quarterfinal showdown with Tennessee to get a chance at redemption. Mississippi State has done a good job taking care of business against the lightweights in the conference and should continue to do so here.
Prediction: Pick: Mississippi State -8
Full-Game Total Pick
The teams have cleared 170 points in their last two matchups, and Mississippi State has scored 75 or more points in 11 of its 18 SEC games. Fatigue may be an issue for the Aggies playing back-to-back nights, though Kennedy was able to give Flagg a rare breather Wednesday night as his 35 minutes were his fewest in the last four games.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 142 points
Full-Game Prop Bet
With the expectation the Aggies will fade, taking the over here is a smart play with Mississippi State playing well against the also-rans of the SEC. The Bulldogs averaged 76.8 points in the 13 conference games played against teams who were unranked, shooting 38.8 percent from 3-point range and 47.7 percent overall.
Prediction: Pick: Mississippi State OVER 75 points
Half-Time Side Pick
While there is a worry Texas A&M will be in game rhythm coming off Wednesday night’s win, the line itself feels like a gift considering Mississippi State was ahead by 12 at halftime last week against the Aggies.
Prediction: Pick: Mississippi State -4.5
Half-Time Total Bet
Again, a form pick after the teams rolled up 80 points in the first half in Starkville last weekend. The Aggies have also scored 34 points in the first halves of their last three games and should be able to help clear this number.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 66 points
Half-Time Prop Prediction
After reaching 34 on Wednesday night and Saturday at Mississippi State, the expectation is the Aggies will have enough juice after their first-round win to carry into a competitive first half in which the over hits before tailing off in the final 20 minutes.
Prediction: Pick: Texas A&M OVER 31 points