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Three keys: LSU vs. Mississippi State

BATON ROUGE, La. -- After tonight, it's all downhill.

Once LSU (14-10, 4-6) finishes up with No. 23 Mississippi State (19-6, 6-4), the Tigers will be done with the toughest stretch on their schedule. Their remaining five opponents sit in the bottom half of the SEC standings.

Beating the Bulldogs will be no easy task, but the Tigers pushed Mississippi State in the teams' first meeting in Starkville, Miss.

Here are three keys if LSU is going to spring the upset.

1. Fix the shooting: Shooting is the only thing that kept the Tigers close against the Bulldogs in the first meeting. LSU shot 11-of-21 -- or 52 percent -- from behind the arc last time against the Bulldogs, with Anthoney Hickey and Ralston Turner fueling a 10-point fightback from long range.

In the Tigers' last two games, they're a putrid 5-of-32 from behind the 3-point line. A measly 15 percent is not going to get it done against a talented Bulldogs squad.

2. Find Arnett Moultrie: This shouldn't come as a surprise, considering the Bulldogs' big man is the No. 4 scorer in the conference, averaging 16.8 points per game. Moultrie destroyed the Tigers last time out, dominating in the post for 28 points and 12 rebounds.

State's offense is only fifth in the SEC in scoring, with 73.4 points per game. Slowing down Moultrie could go a long way toward frustrating the Bulldog attack. That duty will likely fall to Justin Hamilton and Johnny O'Bryant III, who have been playing well in the past few games.

3. Valentine's Day love: Back in Starkville, the Bulldogs were able to do a lot of work from the free throw line. Whether it was a little bit of home court love from the refs or a tactical advantage is hard to say, but State shot 31 free throws to LSU's measly 13. This time, LSU has to hope it gets a little of that love in return. The Tigers are at home and it's Valentine's Day after all. Where's the love?