Louisiana State Tigers vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs Pick & Prediction MARCH 14th 2024

Mississippi State’s NCAA Tournament hopes are weakening down the stretch, while LSU suddenly has a long-shot hope of playing its way into the tournament.

The ninth-seeded Bulldogs and eighth-seeded Tigers have work to do to on their postseason resumes as they prepare to meet in the second round of the SEC Tournament on Thursday afternoon in Nashville, Tenn.

MSU (19-12) was a strong contender for an NCAA bid before losing its last four games, including a 93-89 overtime loss at home to South Carolina on Saturday.

“We know that game doesn’t make or break our season,” forward Cameron Matthews said. “We’ve got a big tournament coming up; make a good run in that, everything is good. We’ve have been on a little streak. We just need to get out of that.”

The Bulldogs’ position is similar to the one they were in last year when they dropped to 20-11 after losing their regular-season finale, but one victory in the SEC tournament was enough to get them into the NCAA Tournament.

The last time MSU won a game this season was Feb. 24 when it went into Baton Rouge, La., and handled LSU 87-67.

But the Tigers (17-14) enter the tournament having won three of four and five of seven. They likely need multiple wins — maybe even a trip to Sunday’s title game — in order to get serious consideration from the NCAA selection committee.

An NIT bid is more realistic, but it’s still a very good position for a program that produced just two SEC wins last season.

LSU was hurt by 15 turnovers and MSU’s 27 second-chance points in the first meeting.

“They were much better than us that night,” Tigers coach Matt McMahon said. “We know we’re playing a team that basically destroyed us in our building three weeks ago. So we know we have to play a lot better.”

The survivor advances to face No. 1 seed Tennessee in the quarterfinals Friday.

–Field Level Media

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