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Mississippi State returns to NCAA Tournament as No. 8 seed to take on Michigan State

Mississippi State basketball
Photo courtesy of Mississippi State Athletics

Get your brackets ready! March Madness is officially here and Mississippi State is back in the Big Dance for a second consecutive season.

Coming in as a No. 8 seed, the Bulldogs (21-13) will be matched up against the legendary Tom Izzo and his ninth-seeded Michigan State squad (19-14) in the West region of the NCAA Tournament. Second-year head coach Chris Jans and company will head to Charlotte, N.C. to face the Spartans on Thursday at 11:15 a.m. central. The game will be televised nationally on CBS.

Mississippi State, despite lacking All-American center Tolu Smith for the majority of nonconference play, opened the year on a high note, carrying an 11-2 record before facing its first SEC opponent. The Bulldogs experienced their fair share of ebbs and flows in conference action, but managed to build a strong résumé with wins over Tennessee and Auburn, both top-10 teams when the games were played.

A four-game winning streak in February placed the team comfortably in NCAA Tournament talks and mock brackets, but things took a turn when Mississippi State lost all four of its final regular season contests.

The Bulldogs, in need of a strong showing in Nashville, found their way when it mattered most. Jans had his group equipped to amass wins over LSU and Tennessee to punch a second consecutive ticket to the field of 68 competing for a national title before falling to Auburn on Saturday.

Freshman sensation Josh Hubbard and Smith, the team’s anchors, will go to work alongside a cast of talented role players including Cam Matthews, Shakeel Moore, D.J. Jeffries, Dashawn Davis, and KeShawn Murphy to make a splash in the highly-anticipated postseason tournament.

The full list of teams in the NCAA Tournament can be found here.

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