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12/23 Big Ten basketball preview: Rutgers vs. Mississippi State

The Scarlet Knights take on the Bulldogs in Newark.

Rutgers v Seton Hall Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Rutgers faces its final substantial nonconference test in Mississippi State, with the Scarlet Knights set to take on the Bulldogs on the Big Ten Network at noon in Newark.

After this all that’s left between Rutgers and Big Ten play is a home game against Stonehill on the 30th right before road trips to Ohio State and Iowa.

It’s also likely to be the most substantial when all is said and done. Mississippi State is a top-50 KenPom team under second-year head coach Chris Jans whose strength is the same as that of Rutgers: defense.

The Bulldogs rank two spots above the Knights in defensive efficiency, but don’t take teams nearly as deep into the shotclock. Holding opponents to just 27% on 3-point attempts, it’ll be difficult to find any shots on the arc. The Knights don’t attempt many though, ranking 256th in that category.

This one is going to come down to which team can hit the most shots and, right now, that’s Mississippi State. Posting just two losses on the year, the Bulldogs get enough second chance points to close out opponents.

One team is just further along than the other right now. KenPom has the ‘dogs by two.

  • Pick: Mississippi State