Mississippi State 62, Vanderbilt 52

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- This SEC tournament thing seems to be right up Mississippi State's alley.

The Bulldogs are back in the championship game after dispatching Vanderbilt 62-52 behind a flurry of blocked shots from senior Jarvis Varnado down the stretch.

With the win, the question will intensify in Starkville: Have the Bulldogs done enough now to earn a bid to the NCAA tournament? They can eliminate all the drama by taking down Kentucky and claiming the SEC's automatic berth on Sunday in the championship game.

The Bulldogs (23-10) got in last year by winning four games in four days. It would be three games in three days this year.

From the outset, Mississippi State looked like the hungrier team, and Varnado took over the game defensively in the final minutes. He finished with 11 points, nine rebounds and six blocks. Three of those blocks came with the Commodores (24-8) trying to make a move in the final minutes.