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NIT Thread: Mississippi State

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Here's the thing I find most fascinating about today's game. Mississippi State leads the nation in blocks per possession. (UNC, for the record, is 18th.) Now, a lot of that is Jarvis Varnado, 4th in the nation in that category. But the rest of the team also does pretty well, because they have enough tall guys to get out on the perimeter. But UNC rarely shoots from the perimeter, and State's tallest player (Varnado) is only 6'9", pretty small by UNC's standards. The Bulldogs also don't generate much in the way of turnovers, either. And the 3rd best shot-blocker in the country is Rutgers' Hamady Ndiaye; Carolina held him to only two blocks in limited play.

Mississippi States three-point shooting will be the other big thing. They'll attempt almost as many as William & Mary; a quick start from behind the arc and UNC will find themselves in a familiar hole, one they've had trouble digging out of. But mainly, I want to see Thompson and Zeller step up and contain Varnado. It's time they stepped up defensively.