Texas A&M-MSU Pregame: Bulldogs Seek Confidence, Elusive Win

Today’s game: Texas A&M (12-7, 2-4 SEC) at MSU (7-11, 2-4), 8 p.m., CSS (Mike Morgan play-by-play, Daymeon Fishback analyst), XM 200, Sirius 149.

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MSU needs to be a more confident team, which could help it end a four-game losing streak. My game advance examines the Bulldogs’ confidence issues and the way they’ve played of late, with coach Rick Ray saying there was too much selfish play in Saturday’s 82-47 loss to Florida.

Ray wanted his team to slow it down and use the clock against Florida, but that didn’t really happen. But, the first-year coach hinted that the style of play could be more up-tempo tonight.

“With a young, inexperienced team and not a lot of point guard play, we have a hard time figuring out when the opportunity is there and when it’s not. I just felt like it was in our best interests to not even try and push the ball against Florida,” Ray said. “Maybe against Texas A&M and LSU we’ll give them that freedom back, because I want those guys to run. I want them to fast break, but we’ve also got to make good decisions while we’re doing it.”

For more on this matchup, check out my scouting report below, from today’s Journal. By the way, Texas A&M is a 3.5-to-4-point favorite tonight.

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Texas A&M at MSU

Tip: 8 p.m., Humphrey Coliseum (10,500).

TV: CSS

Radio: MSU Network; XM 200; Sirius 149.

Series: MSU leads, 2-1.

Last year: MSU, 69-60 in New York.

Coaches – Texas A&M: Billy Kennedy, 237-204 overall (15th season), 26-25 at Texas A&M (second season); MSU: Rick Ray, 7-11 (first season).

Notes: This is the teams’ first meeting as SEC foes, and the first in Starkville. … After committing a season-high 29 turnovers at Arkansas, MSU had a season-low 10 vs. Florida. … Texas A&M is third in the SEC in scoring defense (59.3 ppg). … Freshmen have accounted for 47.3 percent of MSU’s scoring this season.

Texas A&M (12-7, 2-4 SEC)

Probable starters Pts Rebs Also

G J’Mychal Reese 6-1 Fr. 7.1 2.8 2.2a

G Fabyon Harris 5-11 Jr. 10.5 1.8 45%3s

G Elston Turner 6-5 Sr. 15.7 3.5 41%3s

F Kourtney Roberson 6-9 So. 6.6 6.4 57%FG

F Ray Turner 6-9 Sr. 10.0 5.8 54%FG

Key reserves

G Alex Caruso 6-5 Fr. 5.0 3.6 3.1a

G Jordan Green 6-5 So. 3.2 1.5 1.6a

F Andrew Young 6-8 Jr. 3.5 3.4 74%FT

Key numbers

• Scoring average: 63.3

• Scoring defense: 59.3

• Field goal%: 44.7

• Opponent FG%: 40.7

• 3-point%: 37.6

• Opponent 3PT%: 32.3

• Free throw%: 68.9

• Opponent FT%: 69.3

• Rebound margin: +3.2

• Turnover margin: –0.2

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MSU (7-11, 2-4 SEC)

Probable starters Pts Rebs Also

G Trivante Bloodman 6-0 So. 5.4 3.1 2.7a

G Jalen Steele 6-3 Jr. 9.4 3.2 94%FT

G Craig Sword 6-3 Fr. 9.6 3.0 53%FT

F Colin Borchert 6-8 Jr. 7.0 4.4 1.5a

C Gavin Ware 6-9 Fr. 8.3 6.9 53%FG

Key reserves

G Fred Thomas 6-5 Fr. 11.1 3.3 1.9s

F Roquez Johnson 6-7 So. 10.1 4.8 40%FG

G Tyson Cunningham 6-3 Jr. 2.7 2.7 1.4a

Key numbers

• Scoring average: 61.2

• Scoring defense: 66.7

• Field goal%: 40.4

• Opponent FG%: 42.2

• 3-point%: 28.6

• Opponent 3PT%: 35.8

• Free throw%: 67.6

• Opponent FT%: 64.3

• Rebound margin: –1.8

• Turnover margin: –1.2

I am the online content coordinator for DJournal.com. Previously at the Journal, I covered Mississippi State athletics (2008-13), high schools (2004-08), and was on the copy desk (2002-04). I'm working on a recipe for bacon-flavored coffee, which would solve all the world's problems.

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