Mississippi State Basketball is an anomaly. If you don't believe me just ask any state fan that follows or has followed Rick Stansbury's bunch over the years.
This year is no different and after a come from behind overtime win at Vanderbilt this past Saturday, State (16-4, 3-2) on paper looks to have a huge edge over LSU (12-7, 2-3), heading into tonight's match up at the Hump in Starkville at 7:00 pm.
After all State is ranked 16th in the country, is 8-1 at home and Stansbury is 17-12 against his SEC counterpart. Wait - This is State we are talking about right? Nothing is ever as easy as it seems for Bury's boys.
This is the same group that lost to Akron at home earlier in the year but went on to beat Texas aTm and Arizona in New York. This is the same group that almost knocked off then No. 5 Baylor but didn't show up in Oxford last week verses an average Ole Miss club. This is the same club that got behind eleven and looked like an Upward Basketball fifth grade team at Vanderbilt before going ahead by ten and finally winning in overtime.
If State wants to accomplish its goal of not only returning to the NCAA Tewnament - Yes I said Tewnament - this is a must win game. A trip to Florida looms this weekend and the dawgs need to continue to press forward and build basketball momentum. Yes there is momentum in basketball. Its a marathon game and the dawgs need every "W" they can get to position themselves for a 3,4,5 or 6 seed in the NCAA's.
Yes March Madness is still over a month away but good teams win consistently and win now. The dawgs have been absent from the Tewnament the last couple of years which has the natives rest-less in Starkville. Not only are the natives eager for a maroon return to March Madness - they are also wanting more than to get bounced in the first or second round like every tournament team Stansbury has fielded.
The best possible way to do that is to stay out of the 8-9 or 7-10 matchups in the first round. Those are brutal seeding's due to having such a hard second round game.
Stansbury has put together a stellar club this year with Dee Bost, Arnett Moultrie, Rinardo Sidney, Rodney Hood and a cast of great role players.
This team has shown it can play with anyone in the country. Is this a good team or a great team? That's yet to be determined, but one thing great teams do not do is loose at home against teams they should beat.
Starting tonight - States under the microscope. Its time to start playing like a team in March now if you want to be in a position to make a run in the NCAA's. That all starts tonight with LSU.