STARKVILLE, Miss. – Nonconference matchups are complete. SEC play is finally here, and Mississippi State opens league competition on Wednesday in a Bluegrass State showdown at No. 14 Kentucky.
Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. CT at Rupp Arena. Dave Neal and Joe Dean Jr. will provide courtside analysis for SEC TV.
The Bulldogs (10-3) have already matched last season’s win total after claiming a 77-63 victory against Maryland Eastern Shore on Thursday. Gavin Ware claimed a career-best 16 rebounds in the win to go along with his 21 points, while Colin Borchert netted a career-high 22 points.
Craig Sword leads MSU with a 14.3 scoring clip and is fifth in the conference with 24 steals. Rick Ray’s squad leads the SEC with 9.6 steals per outing and ranks 10th nationally.
Kentucky (10-3) closed out its non-conference slate with a 73-66 win against in-state rival Louisville on Dec. 28. Freshman standout Julius Randle averages 18.1 points and 10.6 boards per game, leading the SEC in rebounding.
The squads met last season in Lexington, as UK earned a 85-55 win. The teams will face-off again on Feb. 8 at Humphrey Coliseum.
Mississippi State is 45-35 all-time in conference openers and 2-2 against the Wildcats in league lid-lifters. The squads last met in a conference opener in 2002, a 74-69 win for the Bulldogs in Starkville.
Following Wednesday’s clash, MSU will host archrival Ole Miss on Saturday. The 3 p.m. tilt at The Hump will be televised by ESPNU.