Mississippi State vs. Baylor: two teams with lots to prove
Mississippi State vs. Baylor
Wednesday, December 28 at 9 PM
Baylor has answered some skeptics already by surpassing last season's win total in games away from home, standing a perfect 5-0 this year versus a dismal 3-10 in 2010-11.
Possessing some of the best raw talent in the country, Mississippi State shocked the country by losing to Akron in the second game of the season, at home, and then bounced back by beating then-ranked Texas A&M and Arizona in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic; The Aggies and Wildcats have since fallen out of the Top 25.
What's At Stake
If Baylor can come away with the win in Dallas this week, they will rise up the ranks and become a serious national title contender. Mississippi State poses the bigger threat and final test to the Bears before Big 12 play begins.
If Mississippi State can win on the road, they can take a major step forward in their development of becoming relevant in the SEC with Kentucky and Florida, two Top 10 teams and Vanderbilt and Alabama, two more teams with Top 25 talent. Last season, they were just a reality-show program, this season, they've turned things around.
Strength (or Weakness) of Schedule
Yes, Baylor is undefeated and ranked in the Top 10 in the country, but their strength of schedule is 136th of 344 teams. Mississippi State has posted a 12-1 record against team's with an overall record of .490, 185th in the country this season.
Both Baylor and Mississippi State have faced only one common opponent in their non-conference slate- West Virginia.
The Bulldogs posted a comfortable 75-62 in front of a roaring home crowd. Lanky and athletic forward Arnett Moultrie dominated the hulking Mountaineer frontcourt of Kevin Jones and Deniz Kilicli, using his quickness, athleticism and length. The other starting forward, Renardo Sidney, struggled once again, fighting foul trouble throughout the game.
In Baylor last game, the finals of the Las Vegas Classic, the Bears edged West Virginia in overtime by way of impressive guard play; Pierre Jackson and Brady Heslip combined for 42 points. The length and athleticism of Baylor's own frontcourt did not prove as Quincy Acy and Perry Jones had just 19 points on 7-of-19 shooting, but did corral 18 boards.