Louisville vs. Mississippi State prediction: Bulldogs the pick

The Louisville Cardinals will look to bust through a Mississippi State Bulldogs defense that ranks 14th in the country in points allowed on a per-possession basis when the teams meet Thursday night in the Bahamas.

Louisville will be without coach Chris Mack as he is finishing up a six-game suspension. Without him, the team already has a home loss on its ledger to Furman.

Mississippi State rates sixth in the country in rebound rate, and the Bulldogs allow opponents to shoot 37.6 percent on 2-point shots, which ranks fifth best among all Division I teams.


Mississippi State is generating a steal on 15.9 percent of possessions on defense, which ranks sixth in the country, while Louisville’s offense rates 192nd in the country in turnovers per possession.

Rocket Watts, center, talks to Michigan State coach Tom Izzo during a game last season.

With Michigan State transfer Rocket Watts getting healthy after missing Mississippi State’s first two games this season and Louisville having just one player averaging more than nine points per game, the Bulldogs will be celebrating Thanksgiving with a win in the Bahamas.

The play: Mississippi State, spread, -1.