Tip off Info
Mississippi State (2-1) vs UTEP (2-1)
TD Arena, Charleston, South Carolina
1:30 p.m. Mountain Time
Streaming: ESPN3 (Roy Philpott/Mark Planksy)
Radio: 92.3 FM The Fox in El Paso, or UTEP Miners IMG Sports Network on TuneIn, (Jon Teicher/Jeff Darby)
Mississippi is a -5 point favorite
Tim Floyd and Ben Howland rekindle their friendly Pac-12 rivalry as C-USA and SEC schools in the final consolation round of the Charleston Classic on Sunday.
Floyd and Howland met ten times while at USC and UCLA from 2005-2009 with Holland owning a 7-3 record.
This season, Howland has nine freshman, and 12 newcomers in his second season at Mississippi State.
They escaped a 78-74 season opening win against Norfolk State who knocked off UTEP last year, lost to a solid UCF squad in the tourney opener, and put up 80 points to beat Boise State on Friday.
Sophomore guard Quinndary Weatherspoon leads the Bulldogs in scoring with 22 points per game. He is shooting 52.2 percent from the field, 38.5 percent from beyond the arc and 92.9 percent from the line while also averaging 5.7 rebounds.
Weatherspoon dropped 25 points against Boise and along with senior guard I.J. Ready are the lone returning starters from a 14-win team last season.
Ready is averaging 14 points per game, and is dishing out 5.6 assists per game so far this season.
Depth could be an early weakness for the young Bulldogs as 92 percent of their scoring comes from five players, but freshman Tyson Carter looks to be a future star.
He is averaging 13.3 points per game so far, making eight three pointers, and committing only a single turnover in his first 96 minutes of his college career.
UTEP’s guard play let them control the tempo and scoreboard against Western Michigan, but giving away possessions is UTEP’s next offensive improvement mark.
Defensively, UTEP can hang their hat this year on active, havoc like style aggression with their athleticism and quickness that hurried or forced Western Michigan into tough shots and turnovers.
The Miners have had a 20-point scorer in three straight games to open a season for the first time since 2007-08, and have also shot 55.8 percent from the field during the Charleston Classic.
Dominic Artis is averaging 22 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in the Charleston Classic. He has gone to the line 22 times in the two games, and is fourth nationally averaging 9.3 assists per game overall.
UTEP has also tied the school record for 80-point scoring games to start the season.
Matt Willms’ performance during the tournament shows why he’s an important piece on both ends of the floor. Willms is averaging 17.5 points the past two games, and has blocked seven shots, and altered a few more during the tournament.
The Miners bounced back nicely with a high energy, high intensity, clear focus mentality against Western Michigan.
Can UTEP have a successful weekend with an equal or better performance?