STARKVILLE, Mississippi (Ticker) -- Mario Austin will not be available for No. 13 Mississippi State on Saturday when it opens its season against Louisiana-Lafayette.
Austin averaged 16.1 points and 7.6 rebounds last season as a sophomore for Mississippi State, which went 27-8 and lost to Texas in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. But the NCAA has declared that Austin was erroneously declared eligible for his freshman season and that he may be deemed ineligible this year.
The Bulldogs are holding Austin out of competition until the situation is resolved.
Mississippi State also features quality guards in Derrick Zimmerman and Timmy Bowers. However, both players shot below 38 percent from beyond the arc, an area where the Bulldogs need to show improvement.
Louisiana-Lafayette (0-0) went 20-10 a year ago and lost to Western Kentucky in the championship of the Sun Belt Conference tournament. The Ragin' Cajuns return sophomore center Michael Southall, an NBA prospect who blocked 97 shots last year, and guard Anthony Johnson, who averaged 14.9 points per game last season.
Mississippi State owns an 11-3 lead in the series against UL-Lafayette. The Bulldogs posted a 79-71 victory at the Ragin Cajuns last season.