Wednesday night features a battle of top-25 SEC teams as the No. 8 Alabama Crimson Tide (10-2) take on the No. 21 Mississippi State Bulldogs (11-1). The Bulldogs will host this game at the Humphrey Coliseum, with tipoff scheduled for 9:00 pm ET.
After losing to No. 10 Gonzaga 100-90, the Crimson Tide bounced back with a 84-64 home win over Jackson State last week. In the win, five players scored double digits, including a team-high 16 points from Noah Gurley. Brandon Miller also had a great game as he finished with a double-double, with 10 points and 14 rebounds.
Mississippi State is coming off of an upset defeat in their last contest, as they were beat 58-52 by unranked Drake. In the loss, Eric Reed Jr was the only Bulldog to finish in double digits, as he had 11 points.
The Crimson Tide open as slight favorites despite playing on the road. They are -127 to win, while the Bulldogs’ moneyline sits at +117. The spread features Alabama as a two-point favorite (-110), and the over/under for total points is 138.5.
Alabama Relying On High Octane Offense Against Bulldogs
As Alabama enters its first SEC matchup, the 10-2 Crimson Tide will rely on their high-octane offense to pick up their first conference win. Currently, Alabama ranks seventh in the nation in scoring, averaging 83.7 points per game (79.5 on the road).
Leading the way for Alabama is freshman forward Brandon Miller. This season, he is leading the team scoring 19.3 points per game on 41.6% shooting. He is also chipping in 8.7 rebounds and two assists per night.
Junior guard Mark Sears is the only other player averaging double digits. He is scoring 14 points a night to go along with 3.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists.
Defensively, the Crimson Tide rank 211th, allowing opponents an average of 72.1 points per game (78.8 on the road).
Mississippi State Looks To Use Home Court Advantage To Secure Win
While the Bulldogs are just 12 games into their season thus far, they have been a perfect 6-0 when playing at Humphreys Coliseum. They will look to extend that winning streak on Wednesday night.
While Alabama relies on an unrelenting offense, Mississippi State relies on its tenacious defense. In fact, the Bulldogs rank second in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 52.6 points per game to opponents.
The Bulldogs’ defense is so strong that an opponent has only scored higher than 60 points once this season, and that was a 68-66 win over Nicholls State. That defense will certainly be tested by the high-scoring Crimson Tide.
On the offensive side, Mississippi State is led by senior forward Tolu Smith. This season, he is averaging 15.6 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game. He is shooting an incredible 62.2% from the field.
No other player on the Bulldogs averages double digits, though. The next major contributors include D.J. Jeffries (9.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists) and Dashawn Davis (9.2 points, 2.8 assists, 1.3 steals).
Take Alabama To Win And Cover
This is the classic matchup of amazing offense versus amazing defense. On the one hand, it is hard to picture a scenario where Alabama is able to put up 90 points like in their last game, but it is also hard to imagine Mississippi State being able to hold the Crimson Tide under 60.
Thus, it begs the question of whether Mississippi State can score enough to keep up with Alabama. While they are better at home 73.6 points) as opposed to the road (60.8), they still rank just 222nd in the nation in scoring.
While Mississippi State is 11-1 in their last six games, they are just 1-6 against the spread in their last seven games.
For those reasons, take Alabama to not only win, but to cover the two-point spread as well (-110).