Tuscaloosa, Ala. – The University of Alabama men's basketball team travels to Starkville, Miss., to face Southeastern Conference Western Division leader Mississippi State on Wednesday evening. The contest, Alabama's next-to-last road game of the regular season, will be televised on CSS and ESPN360.com with an 8 p.m. tipoff.
The Crimson Tide and Bulldogs meet for the second time this season with Alabama winning the first contest, 62-57, over the then No. 23 Bulldogs in Tuscaloosa. MSU returns to its home court as winners of three of its last four and boasts a 19-8 overall record and a 7-5 mark in SEC play.
"Mississippi State leads the league with Arkansas for first place in the West," UA head coach Anthony Grant said. "It will be an opportunity for us to play a very good opponent. We were fortunate to win the game the last time we played them here at home and certainly look forward to having a chance to compete again and get back on the court there Wednesday."
Mississippi State has both inside and perimeter threats as the team is third in the league in three-point percentage at 36 percent with Ravern Johnson connecting on 42.9 percent of his three-point attempts this season. That three-point attack will face an Alabama perimeter defense that has held SEC foes to a league low 27.7 percent from three-point range.
MSU's frontcourt is anchored by Jarvis Varnado's 13.2 points and 10.9 rebounds per game. The senior is just eight blocks shy of becoming the NCAA's all-time blocks leader. In the first meeting this season, he was held to nine points and eight rebounds, the only time in SEC play this season he has been held to single digits in both categories. Alabama's JaMychal Green is one of the interior players that will be charged with facing Varnado and he enters the game on the heels of his fifth double-double of the season with 16 points and 11 rebounds at Georgia.
Green and the Tide travel across the state line after falling, 76-70, to Georgia on Saturday to fall to 14-12 overall and 4-8 in league action. Despite a sub-par outing in Athens, the Tide's defense remains its calling card as the squad continues to lead the league in points allowed with SEC foes averaging just 62.6 points per game. Additionally the squad is third in the league in points per possession allowed at 0.95.
Offensively, Green and senior Mikhail Torrance remain the top scoring threats at 14.9 and 15.0 points per game, respectively. However, junior Senario Hillman rediscovered his scoring touch lately with three straight games in double-figures and senior Anthony Brock has come along in similar fashion with back-to-back 10 point games on 50 percent shooting from three-point range.