While the rest of the SEC faces Big XII matchups this weekend, Mississippi State University's men's basketball (14-6, 2-5 SEC) will play former Big XII team, the University of Missouri Tigers (13-7, 3-4).
“There are going to be some great games, we need it for our league, there will be some really good matchups,” Howland said. “These wins will go very far in terms of helping our conference when it comes selection Sunday. If the league is able to do well then, it is going to be helpful.”
The Bulldogs head into this matchup following a two game losing skid, which includes defeats on the road at the University of Alabama and at the University of Kentucky. Quinndary Weatherspoon, a junior guard from Canton, believes one of the reasons for their struggles is becaue they haven not been able to put together a full basketball game.
“We just have got to put 40 minutes together, we have been playing a lot of thirty minute basketball,” Weatherspoon said. “The last ten minutes as a team, I think we just ghost a little bit; and then if we can put 40 minutes together, then we can close out some of those games.”
Another problem the Bulldogs have been facing is shooting the ball, especially from three point range. Against Kentucky, MSU shot 5-29 from three point range. Howland said he wants his players to take those shots when they are open, but at the end, of the day it comes down to shot selection.
“It is all about taking good shots, if it is a wide open three point shot, I want to take that shot every time,” Howland said. “The most important thing on offense is shot selection. That is number one, and that is something we continue to grow in and understand. It means being patient.”
Missouri has two really powerful offensive weapons in Kassius Robertson and Jordan Barnett. Robertson averages 15.5 points per game, and Barnett averages 14.8 points per game with 6.2 rebounds. Howland says those players are concerning him the most about the strong Missouri team.
“Robertson has been a very good addition to their team, they have good players, they have size, they shoot the ball very well, and they play very good defense,” Howland said. “Their RPI is indicative of the fact that they are a really good team, and an NCAA tournament-bound team. So it will be a very big time challenge for us, and a very exciting challenge for us.”