Mississippi State, ranked 23rd in the AP poll and 24th
in the ESPN/USA Today poll, enters the game with an
overall record of 13-5 and a 3-4 mark in the SEC after
suffering a 67-63 loss Saturday at Georgia. After losing
the season-opener to Louisiana-Lafayette, the Bulldogs
won 10 straight games. MSU began the SEC season 0-3
and then followed that with three straight wins before
losing at Georgia.
Juniors Mario Austin (16.8) and Timmy Bowers (14.8)
are the teamís top scorers, while Austin is the squadís
leading rebounder with 8.2 boards per contest. Senior
Derrick Zimmerman is MSUís assist leader with 4.8 assists
Vanderbilt leads the all-time series with the Bulldogs,
68-37, and trails just 26-22 in Starkville, Miss. The
Commodores, who have lost the past two meetings between
the schools, have lost three consecutive games to Mississippi
State just once. Between the 1977-78 and 1978-79 season,
Vanderbilt lost two games in Starkville sandwiched around
a home loss for three straight.
Vanderbilt has climbed to No. 40 in the RPI rankings,
which puts the Commodores seventh in the SEC...Vanderbilt
is tied for the fifth-best SEC record at 3-4...Matt
Freije is fourth in the SEC in scoring (17.7) and third
in SEC games only (19.1)...Freije was featured on espn.com
as part of the ďBig Man on CampusĒ poll that listed
five players who had great performances in a game this
past week...Vanderbilt is now 6-0 when shooting 50 percent
or better from the field and 7-0 when the Commodores
outrebound their opponent...Brian Thornton has scored
16 points in three of the past four games...VUís six
blocks against Ole Miss was the teamís most in the past
eight games...VU outrebounded Georgia and Ole Miss,
earning the team its first back-to-back rebounding wins
since the first two games of the season...Points in
the paint: VU 34, UM 30...Points off turnovers: VU 12,
UM 17...Second-chance points: VU 15, UM 13...Fast-break
points: VU 10, UM 2.
Vanderbilt and Mississippi State have played five common
opponents with Vanderbilt owning a 4-1 record and MSU
having a 2-3 record versus those teams.
Opponent VU MSU
Alabama A&M W, 68-40 W, 100-58
Alabama W, 70-69 L, 62-68 (2ot)
Florida L, 75-87 L, 66-74
Georgia W, 94-91 L, 63-67
Ole Miss W, 76-68 W, 58-57
Earns Player of the Week Honors
Matt Freije was selected as the SEC Player of the Week
after leading the Commodores to wins over No. 15 Georgia
and Ole Miss this past week. Freije scored a career-high
31 points and grabbed nine rebounds in Vanderbiltís
94-91 win over Georgia. The junior forward led Vanderbilt
to a 76-68 home victory over Ole Miss Saturday night.
Freije scored a team-high 20 points, pulled down five
rebounds and pocketed a careerhigh five steals.
This marks the second SEC Player of the Week honor
for Freije. He was tabbed SEC Player of the Week last
season on January 21, 2002 after scoring a then-career-high
29 points versus Auburn and helping VU to a road victory
at South Carolina. This also marks the ninth time a
Vanderbilt player has received this honor since the
Vanderbilt Looking to Extend Winning Streak
Vanderbiltís current two-game winning streak is the
teamís first win streak since beating East Tennessee
State (Dec. 4) and Tulane (Dec. 7) and the first win
streak in the SEC since beating Tennessee (Feb. 23)
and Kentucky (Feb. 27) last season. The Commodoresí
three-game SEC winning streak last season (Auburn, at
South Carolina, Georgia) was the teamís longest since
the 1997-98 season.
Getting to Charity Stripe
Vanderbilt shot a combined 50-65 (.769) from the free-throw
against Georgia and Ole Miss. The 50 made free throws
in those two games is more than in any previous three-game
stretch this season.
Commodores Top Scorers Against Georgia & Ole Miss
In back-to-back games, Vanderbilt put up the most points
its opponent had surrendered all season. The 94 points
VU scored against Georgia topped the previous high of
83 points that Georgia Tech and Gonzaga had scored against
The 94 points also was the highest Vanderbilt point
total versus an SEC opponent since scoring 101 against
Georgia March 1, 2000.
The Commodores then scored 76 points on Ole Miss, which
topped the previous high of 69 that Evansville had scored
against the Rebels. The 76 points also was the most
Ole Miss had allowed in 13 games against SEC opponents.
Makes Most of Opportunity
With Corey Smith unavailable, Scott Hundley has been
given more of an opportunity to help the Commodores
and he has made his mark.
Playing a then-career-high 24 minutes versus Georgia,
Hundley scored a then-season-high 14 points, grabbed
four rebounds and pocketed a career-best four steals.
He also had an 8-of-9 performance from the free-throw
line. His 4-of-4 shooting from the charity stripe in
the final 10 seconds of the game secured the Vanderbilt
Hundley then turned in an even better effort against
Ole Miss despite battling illness throughout the game.
He scored a season-best 18 points and pulled down a
game-high seven rebounds, while playing a career-high
33 minutes. Again, he was solid at the charity stripe,
making 8-of-10 free-throw attempts.
Vanderbilt Playing Nationís Sixth Toughest Schedule
As of Monday, CollegeRPI.com has Vanderbiltís schedule
ranked as the sixth toughest in the nation. Only Georgia
(1) and Arkansas (4) have tougher schedules in the SEC.
This season VU has played seven teams ranked in the
Top-16 of the national polls, including Connecticut
(12), Indiana (6), Notre Dame (6), Alabama (4), Kentucky
(16), Florida (5) and Georgia (15).
The Commodores are 4-0 this season when wearing gold
uniforms. The team has three sets of uniforms ó white,
gold and black. While white uniforms have been the standard
home attire, Vanderbilt has earned home victories over
Alabama A&M, College of Charleston, Georgia and Ole
Miss in the gold uniforms.
Commodores Find Three-Point Stroke
After facing some inconsistency from three-point range
during the early part of the season, the Commodores
have rebounded from behind the arc. In the five games
leading up to the Ole Miss contest, VU had made 51.9
percent (42-81) of its three-point shots and had not
made less than eight treys in any of those five contests.
For the season, Vanderbilt is shooting 35.1 percent
from threepoint range and is averaging 5.9 three-pointers