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That One Hurt: Mississippi State 88, Arkansas 78

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To quote the Doobie Brothers: "Just when you think you've got a good thing, it seems to slip away."

The Hogs appeared to have a good thing going early in the second half of tonight's game. After winning their previous two games, they were playing well and led Mississippi State 45-37 with more than 18 minutes to go.

Around that time came word that Auburn had recovered from a 20-point deficit to beat Ole Miss, which meant that beating the Bulldogs would give the Hogs a No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in the upcoming SEC Tournament. Beating the Bulldogs would also give Hogs a shot at their first winning conference record since 2008.

And then it slipped away.

The Hogs' offense dried up in the middle part of the second half, and Mississippi State took firm control of the game with a 15-3 run that gave the Bulldogs a 73-63 lead with just more than 4 minutes to go. The Bulldogs would later lead by as many as 11 before notching an 88-78 victory.

Who knows what lies ahead - knowing this team, they will win in Oxford this weekend and then make some noise in the SEC Tournament. But for those of us who were hoping for a late-season surge and dreaming the oh-so-stirring dream of an NIT appearance, tonight's loss is a big, fat bummer.

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