NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- There was more at stake Friday for Mississippi State, and the Bulldogs played that way.
They still have some work to do if they’re going to play their way into the NCAA Tournament.
Extremely impressive at times, Mississippi State built a big lead and then held off Florida for a 75-69 quarterfinal victory in the SEC tournament.
The Bulldogs (22-9) moved onto the semifinals and will face the winner of the next game between Georgia and Vanderbilt on Saturday.
When they play the way they did for much of Friday’s game, they’re easily one of the best four teams in this league. More specifically, when they shoot the ball the way they did against the Gators, they’re tough to beat.
Mississippi State was 10-of-20 from 3-point range and shot 57.1 percent from the field. The Bulldogs led by as many as 19 points with 13 minutes to play.
By most accounts, the Gators (21-12) were probably already in the NCAA Tournament prior to Friday’s game. Mississippi State is still one of those teams perched squarely on the bubble. It’s probably going to take at least one more win to make Selection Sunday interesting for the Bulldogs.