Mississippi State Will Meet Tennessee In SEC Tournament; Vanderbilt Beats Bama, To Play Kentucky

No. 10 seed Mississippi State dominated No. 7 seed South Carolina throughout the game for a 73-51 victory Thursday night in the SEC Tournament at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida.

The Bulldogs (18-14) advance to the quarterfinal round to play No. 2 seed and ninth-ranked Tennessee (23-7) at 6 p.m. eastern on Friday on the SEC Network.

"We've got four games in four days," said State forward Tolu Smith, who led the Bulldogs with 20 points and 12 rebounds. "We're going back to the hotel and rest."

Tennessee defeated Mississippi State, 72-63, in the regular season on Feb. 9.

"Tennessee's a great rebounding team," Smith said. "I feel like in this tournament, it's all about rebounding and free throws."

State outrebounded South Carolina (18-13) by 49-39 and hit 20 of 27 free throws to 11 of 19. Guard Iverson Molinar added 19 points for the Bulldogs. Guard Erik Stevenson scored 18 for the Gamecocks.

The SEC Tournament opens Friday with No. 1 seed/regular season champion and fourth-ranked Auburn (27-4) playing No. 8 seed Texas A&M (21-11), which defeated Florida in the first game on Thursday, 83-80, in overtime. Tip-off is at noon on ESPN.

No. 4 seed and 15th-ranked Arkansas (24-7) plays at approximately 2:30 p.m. Friday on ESPN against No. 5 seed LSU (22-10), which beat No. 12 seed Missouri, 76-68, in the second game Thursday.

No. 3 seed and fifth-ranked Kentucky (25-6) plays at approximately 8:30 p.m. Friday on the SEC Network against No. 11 seed Vanderbilt (17-15), which knocked off No. 6 seed Alabama (19-13) by 82-76 in the late game Thursday night.

Written by
Guilbeau joined OutKick as an SEC columnist in September of 2021 after covering LSU and the Saints for 17 years at USA TODAY Louisiana. He has been a national columnist/feature writer since the summer of 2022, covering college football, basketball and baseball with some NFL, NBA, MLB, TV and Movies and general assignment, including hot dog taste tests. A New Orleans native and Mizzou graduate, he has consistently won Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) and Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) awards since covering Alabama and Auburn at the Mobile Press-Register (1993-98) and LSU and the Saints at the Baton Rouge Advocate (1998-2004). In 2021, Guilbeau won an FWAA 1st for a game feature, placed in APSE Beat Writing, Breaking News and Explanatory, and won Beat Writer of the Year from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA). He won an FWAA columnist 1st in 2017 and was FWAA's top overall winner in 2016 with 1st in game story, 2nd in columns, and features honorable mention. Guilbeau completed a book in 2022 about LSU's five-time national champion coach - "Everything Matters In Baseball: The Skip Bertman Story" - that is available at www.acadianhouse.com, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble outlets. He lives in Baton Rouge with his wife, the former Michelle Millhollon of Thibodaux who previously covered politics for the Baton Rouge Advocate and is a communications director.