Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Kentucky Wildcats Pick & Prediction FEBRUARY 27th 2024


Justin Edwards failed to reach double digits in 12 of his previous 14 appearances before breaking out in spectacular fashion on Saturday against then-No. 13 Alabama.

Edwards was 10-of-10 shooting while scoring a season-best 28 points. He now attempts to follow up the strong effort on Tuesday night when the No. 16 Wildcats face red-hot Mississippi State at Starkville, Miss.

Edwards was expected to be an impact freshman for Kentucky (19-9, 9-5 SEC). He scored in double figures seven times in nonconference games but the scoring totals dropped once SEC play began.

But he displayed his potential in the high-octane 117-95 win over the Crimson Tide. He also knocked down a season-best four 3-pointers, one in which he was fouled and finished the four-point play.

“It felt good,” Edwards said of his breakout performance. “I had been struggling mentally the whole season, so to go out there and to play how I did felt good.” Edwards’ previous high output was 17 points against Vanderbilt on Feb. 6. He is averaging 8.9 points. Kentucky coach John Calipari said he has been observing Edwards closely and sensed he was close to having a standout performance.

“I kept saying, ‘You’re going to break through, I believe in you,'” Calipari said. “He said, ‘Coach, I believe in you.’ And I said, ‘You just got to stay the course.'”

Antonio Reeves added 24 points as Kentucky shot 63.1 percent from the field, including 13 of 24 from 3-point range. The Wildcats registered their fifth 100-point outing and fell one point shy of their season high (118 vs. Marshall on Nov. 24).

Reeves leads Kentucky with a 19.0 scoring average and 70 3-point baskets.

The Wildcats don’t yet know if they will have forward Tre Mitchell on Tuesday. He has missed five of the past six games — the first two due to a back injury, the last three because of a shoulder ailment.

Kentucky resides in a tie for fifth place in the SEC and Mississippi State (19-8, 8-6) is one game behind in a tie for seventh.

The Bulldogs have ripped off five straight victories — the longest current streak in the SEC — and are 11-2 at home. Mississippi State also has seen its confidence rise.

One player who is soaring is freshman guard Josh Hubbard, who scored a season-high 32 points in Saturday’s 87-67 road rout of LSU.

Hubbard knocked down a season-best six 3-pointers while topping 20 points for the seventh time this season.

“They build my confidence every day in practice,” Hubbard said of his teammates and the coaching staff. “We push each other, and we play hard. They instilled that in me from the start, and I instilled that in them. We just rely on each other to get a win each night.”

Hubbard ranks second on the Bulldogs in scoring at 15.3 points, trailing veteran Tolu Smith III, who averages 16.8 points and a team-high 8.1 rebounds.

Mississippi State coach Chris Jans is aware of the challenge facing the Wildcats. Kentucky recorded a 90-77 home victory over the Bulldogs on Jan. 17 for its 18th win in the past 19 meetings in the series.

“They handled us very easily at their place, so all of their guys will be super motivated,” Jans said. “You know, it’s Kentucky. Everybody gets excited. I know our fans will be excited. We’re going to have a rocking Hump. It’s just a great opportunity for us.”

–Field Level Media

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