Mississippi State finished the 2024 regular season 36-19 with an SEC record of 17-13. By picking up 2 more SEC Tournament wins before eventual elimination, the Bulldogs felt like they had established themselves as one of the top 16 clubs in the nation.

Entering Selection Monday, MSU ended up 38-21 with an RPI of No. 25 and No. 14 strength of schedule, going 16-14 against Quad 1 competition. The team website notes that Mississippi State was No. 10 in KPI, a team-comparison metric used by the selection committee that, unlike RPI, factors in the score of every game. Ultimately, it wasn’t enough for there to be a Starkville Regional.

Instead, the road to Omaha will begin in Charlottesville, Virginia for Chris Lemonis’ team. Virginia was named the No. 12 national seed, and an NCAA Regional host to 2-seed Mississippi State, 3-seed St. John’s and 4-seed Penn.

The Diamond Dawgs are disappointed to not be playing at The Dude, but Lemonis knows his team can’t throw a pity party over the national seed snub.

“It is what it is,” Lemonis said, per the team website. “We’re past it. I told our kids, ‘We’re at zero and nothing else matters.’ We’re all even now and we just get ready to go.”

Bulldogs open with St. John’s

Before diving into the numbers, Lemonis already had a feeling of what to expect from St. John’s, the first team MSU will face in Charlottesville.

“I haven’t done too much [research], but I’ve played against them,” Lemonis said following the bracket reveal. “It’s just tough, hard-nosed, New York kids. Most of them are from the New York area and you’re playing against tough kids.

“I’ve known their coach since he was in college and it’s the same thing. You’re going to have to go up there and beat them because they’re going to give a great effort.”

The Johnnies have an All-Big East arm in Mario Pesca. The 6-8, 225-pound sophomore right-hander from the Bronx has a 2.94 ERA in 14 starts this season. Over 70.1 IP, Pesca has posted 51 strikeouts to 36 walks with opponents hitting .227.

In the field and at the plate, C Jimmy Keenan (.341 AVG/.410 OBP/.615 SLG) and OF Garrett Scavelli (.330/.418/.510) also earned first-team All-Big East honors. Keenan was the Most Outstanding Player of the conference tournament, going 7-of-14 with 6 RBIs and a pair of go-ahead home runs.

St. John’s has a 37-16-1 record, bringing a 3-game winning streak into the NCAA Tournament.

Here’s the full schedule for the Charlottesville Regional:
All times ET

Friday, May 31, 2024

  • Game 1 – UVA vs Penn – Noon (ESPN+)
  • Game 2 – State vs St John’s – 7 p.m. (ESPN+)

Saturday, June 1, 2024

  • Game 3 – Loser of G1 vs Loser of G2 – Noon (Broadcast TBD)
  • Game 4 – Winner of G1 vs Winner of G2 – 6 p.m. (Broadcast TBD)

Sunday, June 2, 2024

  • Game 5 – Winner of G3 vs Loser of G4 – Noon (Broadcast TBD)
  • Game 6 – Winner of G4 vs Winner of G5 – 6 p.m. (Broadcast TBD)

Monday, June 3, 2024

  • Game 7 – If necessary (Time and broadcast TBD)