Mississippi State leaning on strengths for NIT quarterfinals

Mississippi State leaning on strengths for NIT quarterfinals
Mississippi State takes the court before facing Kentucky in the SEC tournament (Source: ESPN)

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WLOX) - Mississippi State returns to the hardwood on Thursday to square off with Richmond in the NIT quarterfinals.

The Spiders are extremely balanced, sporting five guys averaging 12 points or more on the year, and can get the job done from beyond the arc, shooting 35 percent from deep on the season. They also take care of the ball well and force a lot of turnovers - Jacob Gilyard led the nation in steals per game this season.

But no matter who the Bulldogs face, Ben Howland says his team is tough to beat against anyone when it plays to its strengths.

“It’s been a real up-and-down year for us, but I think the biggest thing, when we’re playing well, starts with our defense,” he said. “We led the SEC in field goal percentage defense, number one in rebounding margin, and those are things we have to continue to try to emphasize to give us a chance to play against these really good teams at this time of year.”

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