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College Basketball Preview: Mississippi Valley State vs. Kentucky

Mississippi Valley State has no chance of coming into Rupp Arena and getting a victory. Simply put, they just aren’t that good. They have played a tough schedule so far this season, with four of their eight losses coming against teams from a big six conference. They lost to Georgia, 72-70, in the first game of the season, but that is the only game of the four that they were in. Indiana beat them by 17, Ole Miss by 32 and Arkansas by 23.

Their other losses are to St. Mary’s, BYU, Liberty and Butler, so none of their losses, except maybe Liberty, have come against terrible teams. They were absolutely embarrassed by BYU as the Cougars routed them, 86-36. That’s bad. Their lone win is a 11-point victory on the road at Georgia Southern. Georgia Southern is 3-8.

A year ago they started the season 1-12 and then went 8-10 in SWAC play. That is what a lot of the SWAC teams do. They play teams that are head and shoulders above them talent-wise in non-conference and then compete in conference play,  looking for the tournament title, a No. 16 seed, a trip to the play-in game, and then usually a plane ride home.

The story of this game will be the return of Sean Woods. Woods, who is a member of the Unforgettables along with Deron Feldhaus, Richie Farmer, and John Pelphrey, is in his third season as head coach of the Delta Devils. He has a 17-56 record so far at MVSU and has won just two games out of conference. His overall non-conference record is 2-34.

This hurts me, ragging on Sean Woods’ record. Let’s take a look at his big shot in the 1992 NCAA Regional Final against Duke. But, this hurts me too. It’s like an endless circle of hurt.

The Delta Devils play a ton of guys, with 12 players averaging over ten minutes a game. They spread their scoring out as well, with just two players averaging double figures and seven averaging over five points. They rank 313th in the country with 61.0 points-per-game, 341st with 9.0 assists, 333rd with 37-percent shooting, and 179th with 35.9 rebounds.

Their two leading scorers are a pair of score-first guards, junior Terrance Joyner (6-2, 175) and senior D’Angelo Jackson. Joyner leads the team with 10.8 points and is shooting 38-percent from deep, knocking down 16 threes. Jackson is averaging 10.2 points and has connected on 12 threes, shooting 32-percent. As a team they are shooting 30-percent from beyond the arc.

Last time out they faced fellow Unforgettable John Pelphrey and the Arkansas Razorbacks. They led the Hogs 32-30 late in the first half, but then Arkansas went on a 33-13 run to take control of the game and eventually won 87-64. The Delta Devils shot just 37-percent from the floor and weren’t effective from deep, shooting just 5-for-21.

If Kentucky lets MVSU hang around like Arkansas did, I don’t think Coach Calipari will be too happy. This one should be over as soon as it starts. It’s difficult to predict scores in games like this, but I’ll try.

Kentucky 95, Mississippi Valley State Fighting Sean Woods 58


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