South Dakota meets Mississippi in Starkville

The game

South Dakota takes to the streets again against another Power Five team in Mississippi State. Tipp-Off is scheduled for 8 p.m. at the Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville, Mississippi.

The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network, where Kevin Fitzgerald and Jon Sundvold will be on the phone. The show can also be found on ESPN+. Fans can tune in to the game on Coyote Sports Network with John Thayer on KVHT 106.3 FM in Yankton/Vermillion or through The Varsity Network app.

The series

Thursday’s game is the first meeting between South Dakota and Mississippi State.

The coyotes

USD ended the first week of the season with a 2-1 record and two home wins. An important part of those victories was the return of AJ Plitzuweit for installation. In the first week of the season, Plitzuweit averages 19 points per game and has eight assists and eight rebounds. The redshirt guard sophomore shoots 64 percent from the field and owns the seventh-best three-point percentage in the nation at 77 percent. Plitzuweit was named the Opening Summit League Peak Performer of the Week for his efforts.

The Coyotes opened the multi-player season in three straight games in double figures. Kruz Perrott Hunt (21) and Paul Bruns (10) led the team offensively against Wisconsin while Plitzuweit (33) Tasos Kamateros (17) and Damani Hayes (11) each scored double digits against Lipscomb. Plitzuweit (16), Bruns (16), Perrott-Hunt (15) and Kamateros (11) each had double-digit scores against Dakota State last Saturday.

The Bulldogs

Mississippi State starts its first season under Chris Jans with a 3-0 lead. Jans spent the previous five seasons as the head coach at New Mexico State and the 2014-15 season at Bowling Green. Jans has posted a 143-44 record as Division I head coach and is yet to chalk up a losing season. His win ratio of .765 ranks third among active head coaches nationally, behind only Gonzaga’s Mark Few and Kansas’ Bill Self.

In the 2021-22 season, the Bulldogs compiled an 18-16 record, including an 8-10 mark in SEC play. MSU defeated South Carolina in the opening round of the SEC tournament before losing to Tennessee in the second round. The Bulldogs finally saw their season come to an end with a three-point loss to Virginia in the first round of the NIT.

Redshirt senior guard Tolu Smith is the all-rounder for the Bulldogs. Smith, an All-SEC Preseason First Team pick, leads the team in points (18.3), rebounds (9.3) and assists (2.6) while shooting 77 percent from the floor. DJ Jeffries is the second Bulldog to average double digits at 10.7 points per game while averaging 4.3 rebounds per game.

One last thing

Thursday night’s game will mark the first time South Dakota has played an SEC conference opponent.