Mississippi State men's basketball

Mississippi State guard Tyson Carter (23) takes a shot against Alabama.

Mississippi State’s bubble still has some air in it.

With the Bulldogs clinging to their NCAA Tournament chances, they desperately needed a Tuesday night win over Alabama and got it with an 80-73 victory over the Crimson Tide at Humphrey Coliseum.

“That was a huge, huge win for us,” Mississippi State head coach Ben Howland said.

The victory keeps the Bulldogs solidly in the picture to get in the big dance next month. They entered Tuesday night as one of ESPN’s Joe Lunardi’s first four teams out of the NCAA Tournament in his latest Bracketology projections and 57th in the country in the NCAA’s NET rankings used to help determine the NCAA Tournament field. With every victory down the stretch precious,

MSU could ill afford a slip-up against Alabama. In an entertaining, closely-contested affair never separated by more than nine points, the Bulldogs (18-10, 9-6) got the best of the Crimson Tide (15-13, 7-8) to keep postseason hopes high.

For more on MSU, see Wednesday's Starkville Daily News.

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