Mississippi State enters the contest 4-7 on the year, 3-1 at home following last Sunday's 59-57 setback to Alabama A&M.
The Privateers sport a 3-8 ledger and have lost three straight and six out of their last seven. They haven't played since losing 67-51 to Boise State in Las Vegas on Dec. 23.
MSU, playing two in a row at home for the first time this season, is led in scoring by Roquez Johnson (12.2) and rebounding by Gavin Ware (7.5).
Ware, a freshman from Starkville, has posted back-to-back double-doubles after totaling 12 points and 11 boards against Alabama A&M. His first double-double netted him 22 points and 13 rebounds against Central Arkansas, a performance that earned him SEC Freshman of the Week honors.
The game against Alabama A&M also marked the return of junior guard Jalen Steele, who had missed eight games with a fractured wrist. Against the Bulldogs, he responded with 10 points and made two free throws to extend his consecutive streak of made free throws to 25.
New Orleans, which is 0-3 in Starkville, is led in scoring by senior forward Lovell Cook (13.9) and rebounding by junior forward reserve Cory Dixon (4.4). Against Boise State, the two had 15 and 3 points, respectively.
After Thursday, the Bulldogs don't play again until Jan. 9 when they open SEC play at home against South Carolina in a 7 p.m. battle that ESPN3 will broadcast.