8. Mississippi State Bulldogs
Entering year two of the Chris Jans era in Starkville, Mississippi State sits at No. 8 in our preseason 2023-24 SEC basketball power rankings.
The Bulldogs are coming off a season in which they finished with a 21-13 overall record, as well as an 8-10 mark in SEC play, with their 21-win total the highest since winning 23 games during the 2018-19 campaign. Making their first NCAA Tournament appearance since that same 2018-19 season, the Bulldogs would reach the First Four, with the 2022-23 campaign also Mississippi State’s third-straight of finishing 8-10 in SEC play.
One of the nation’s top defensive teams last season by ranking No. 9 nationally allowing only 61 PPG to opponents, as well as averaging 65.7 PPG themselves, Mississippi State is now tasked with replacing a few names off that team, in particular off their bench. Included in that group are the likes of Tyler Stevenson, Eric Reed, and William McNair.
Returning a significant amount of production however, Mississippi State’s 2023-24 roster will be headlined by forward Tolu Smith, who averaged 15.7 PPG and 8.5 RPG a year ago, while others are also back such as Shakeel Moore, D.J. Jeffries, Dashawn Davis, and Cameron Matthews, among others. With those five composing the Bulldogs five top scorers a year ago, Mississippi State also has a few other new faces who could make an impact such as Marshall transfer Andrew Taylor, West Virginia transfer Jimmy Bell, and four-star freshman Josh Hubbard.
Mississippi State will open the 2023-24 season in Chicago, IL on November 8 by facing Arizona State in the Barstool Sports Invitational.