Bulldogs visit No. 4 Tennessee Vols
From staff &wire reports
Sat., Jan. 20, 2001
STARKVILLE The Bulldogs of Mississippi State resume Southeastern Conference basketball action Saturday afternoon in Knoxville by taking on the fourth-ranked Tennessee Volunteers. Tip-off at UT's Thompson-Boling Arena is set for 3 p.m. ET, and the game will be regionally televised live by Jefferson Pilot Sports.
Coach Rick Stansbury's Bulldogs are 10-4 overall on the season and 1-2 in league play after concluding their regular-season, non-conference slate with an 83-66 home victory over the Tulane Green Wave this past Wednesday. MSU enters Saturday's contest having dropped successive decisions to nationally ranked conference foes, losing at Alabama (72-59) last Saturday and previously falling at home to Florida (81-80) on Jan. 10.
With four starters averaging in double figures on the year, junior Robert Jackson has reclaimed the team's season scoring lead at 13.2 points per game after Wednesday's 18-point effort against Tulane. Jackson also leads the Bulldogs and ranks third in the SEC in rebounding (9.4 rpg), along with standing sixth among league leaders in field-goal percentage (54.0%).
Ranked fourth in both the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll and The Associated Press poll, Tennessee sports a 16-2 overall record and 3-1 conference mark after dropping an 84-74 road decision to SEC East rival Kentucky this past Tuesday in Lexington.
Undefeated in nine home contests this season, the Volunteers currently own an SEC-best, 16-game homecourt winning streak dating back to last season. Two years ago in Knoxville (Feb. 6, 1999), Mississippi State snapped UT's then-league long, 16-game home win string with an 88-82 victory at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Though trailing by a 67-36 margin in the all-time series history versus Tennessee, the Bulldogs own a 7-4 series lead over the Volunteers since the SEC split into two divisions following the 1990-91 campaign. Along with the team's six-point win at UT two years ago, Guided by fourth-year head coach Jerry Green, Tennessee features four players averaging between 14.0 and 12.8 points per game for the season, led by junior forward Vincent Yarbrough. Seniors Isiah Victor and Tony Harris follow close behind at 13.4 and 13.3 points an outing, while leading the Vols in rebounding (7.5 rpg) and assists (4.9 apg), respectively.
The Bulldogs will return home to entertain a pair of SEC Western Division rivals next week, as the LSU Tigers and Rebels of Mississippi visit Starkville for respective games on Wednesday and Saturday.