The Kentucky Wildcats (10-3) open its SEC slate against the Mississippi State Bulldogs (10-3) at historic Rupp Arena. Here are your abbreviated Game Notes:
- Second-year MSU head coach Rick Ray helped recruit All-American Robbie Hummel, and current NBA players E'Twaun Moore, Carl Landry, and JuJuan Johnson to Purdue when he served as an assistant to Matt Painter.
- Ray has also served as an assistant at Indiana State and Clemson.
- At Grandview College (Iowa), Ray was named an All-American Scholar-Athlete.
- Former UK assistant athletic director Scott Stricklin is the MSU AD.
- Bulldog leading scorer Craig Sword, a 6-3 sophomore guard, shoots 57.1 percent from the field but only 25.0 percent from beyond the arc (3-12).
- In its three losses on the season, Mississippi State has averaged losing by 15 points per setback.
- MSU owns a 66-53 win over last year's NCAA Tournament darling, Florida Gulf Coast.
- Not a great perimeter shooting team, the Bulldogs have connected on only 58-of-192 shots from beyond the arc (30.2 percent).
- Six-nine sophomore forward Gavin Ware averages 8.9 rebounds and 11.2 points per game, and shoots 59.2 percent from the floor (61-103).
- Ware set a career-high mark in rebounds with 16 boards versus Maryland Eastern-Shore. That game also represented Ware's fifth double-double of the season as he also posted 21 points in the contest.
- Colin Borchert, a 6-8 senior forward, nets 10.1 points per game, while connecting on 28.1 percent of his shots from distance (16-57).
- Mississippi State is 45-35 all-time in its SEC openers; 2-2 versus Kentucky.
- After winning three straight games against Kentucky, the Bulldogs have lost their last five matchups with the 'Cats.
- MSU is 8-0 when out-rebounding its opponent. Additionally, the Bulldogs are 8-0 when holding their opponents to 65 points or less.
- Kentucky is the first ranked team MSU has played this season. Last season the Dogs posted an 0-4 record versus ranked teams.
- MSU averages a league-high (ninth in nation) 9.6 steals per game.
- Sword and 6-5 guard Fred Thomas have a combined 40 steals on the season (3.1 per game).
- Sword is fifth in the conference in steals, with 1.8 pilfers per game.
- MSU has only eight active scholarship players.
- MSU last visited Rupp Arena in February of 2013, coming away 85-55 losers, as Thomas had 13 points, six rebounds and two steals in the contest (Ryan Harrow led the 'Cats with 19 points).
- In nine of MSU's 13 games, the Bulldogs have scored more points in the second half than in the first stanza.
Thanks for reading and Go 'Cats!