November 30, 2018 7:42:44 AM
No. 25 Mississippi State (5-1) at Dayton (4-2)
BROADCAST INFO: 6 p.m. Friday on CBS Sports Network.
DAYTON SO FAR: Much like Mississippi State, Dayton started with three easy home games against North Florida, Coppin State and IPFW (even if the North Florida game was much closer than it should have been). The Flyers then went to the Bahamas for three games and got a huge win to start, beating Butler on the neutral floor and put quite the scare into Virginia in a loss to the Cavaliers. The trip ended with a loss to Oklahoma, but the projections say the Flyers should have lost all three of those games, so coming away with the win against Butler is big. Wins like that make one think this team can win the A-10 and get into the dance.
MSU SO FAR: The four easy games went as they were supposed to -- 95-67 over Austin Peay, 77-59 over Hartford, 79-51 over Long Beach State and 88-65 over Alcorn State. The tougher games were just that: a stretch of about 13 minutes was all Arizona State needed to beat the Bulldogs, but a big bounceback win over Saint Mary's got everything on track. Now the easy games are almost gone: of MSU's seven remaining non-conference games, only two are currently outside of the top 100 in KenPom.
DAYTON PROJECTED STARTERS
G 10 Jalen Crutcher, Soph., 6'1", 169 -- 13.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 5.7 apg, team-high 33 3-point attempts (5.5 per game),18 points and 2 steals against MSU last year.
G 3 Trey Landers, Jr., 6'5", 221 -- 11.3 ppg, 7.2 rpg (2.5 offensive rpg), 4 blocks and 4 steals in 6 games, team leader with 62 shots taken (10.3 per game).
G 4 Jordan Davis, Soph., 6'2", 195 -- 9.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1 spg, 26.9 percent from 3-point range but second on the team in attempts, just 3 turnovers despite averaging 32.7 minutes per game over 6 games.
F 0 Josh Cunningham, Jr., 6'8", 239 -- 14.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 66.7 percent from the field, 10-20 from the free throw line, 16 points and 8 rebounds against MSU last year.
F 33 Ryan Mikesell, Jr,., 6'7", 215 -- 8.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 55.9 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point range.
MISSISSIPPI STATE PROJECTED STARTERS
G 1 Lamar Peters, Jr., 6'0", 185 -- 11.3 ppg, 2 rpg, 5.5 apg, 1 spg, top 50 nationally in assist rate (assists on field goals made while a player is on the court).
G 0 Nick Weatherspoon, Soph., 6'2", 195 -- 10.7 ppg, 2 rpg, 2.5 apg, 53.7 percent from the field and 57.1 from 3-point range, 12-15 from the free throw line.
G 11 Quinndary Weatherspoon, Sr., 6'4", 205 -- 17 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.2 apg, 2.2 spg, 51.3 percent from the field but 18.2 percent from 3-point range, 88.9 percent from the free throw line (top 100 in the nation).
F 35 Aric Holman, Sr., 6'10", 225 -- 11.5 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 2.5 bog, 1.1 spg, last game was the first one this season without at least double-digit points or rebounds this year.
F 24 Abdul Ado, R-Soph., 6'11", 255 -- 4.3 ppg (11 points in season opener, 2 points in each game since then), 6.8 rpg, 2 bpg, 1 spg, missed last two games with injury.
QUOTE: "It's going to be a big adjustment because they're going to have 13,000 people there, I'm not really used to playing in front of that many people. I have to go with the same mind-set, play hard and stay calm." -MSU freshman forward Reggie Perry
NOTES: KenPom gives MSU a 61 percent chance of winning this game with a projected final score of 69-66....To paint a picture of how hard it is to do: MSU went 4-7 on the road against top 100 teams, with two of those wins coming in the NIT....Dayton's Jalen Crutcher made the Atlantic-10 All-Rookie Team last year and Josh Cunningham was a preseason All-Conference First Team....Quinndary Weatherspoon could crack the top 10 in the school scoring list in this game: his 1,485 career points put him six behind No. 12 Tony Watts, seven behind No. 11 Craig Sword and 18 behind No. 10 Jerry Jenkins.
Follow Dispatch sports writer Brett Hudson on Twitter @Brett_Hudson