Back On That Road

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Mississippi State plays its third road game in 12 days with Wednesday’s trip to Knoxville. The Bulldogs have lost their last two road games, at Auburn and at Alabama, so naturally we all wonder what makes “that road,” as coach Rick Stansbury calls it, so tough. “The thing that makes every venue difficult is the team you’ve got to go against,” he said at today’s media gathering. “It might not be a very difficult environment if that team’s not very good. But if you put a good team in that environment, then you’ve got a difficult environment, a difficult situation, and that’s what Tennessee is.”

So how tough is Tennessee (16-10, 7-5 SEC) at home? Overall, the Volunteers are 9-4 at Thompson-Boling Arena, including a 4-2 mark in SEC play. The losses came against Gonzaga (89-79, OT), Kentucky (90-72), then-No. 22 Memphis (54-52) and LSU (79-73). Some pretty stiff competition there, and as we know, UT has the league’s highest RPI (25).

“They had some great wins early. They haven’t been as consistent of late. They haven’t played as well on the road of late for sure,” Stansbury said. But he warned that the Vols are like a hand grenade waiting to go off (my metaphor, actually): “Tennessee has enough talent to get on a roll and be as good and as consistent as anybody in this league down the stretch.”

MSU (17-10, 7-5) sure needs to get on a roll. Now would be a great time, what with Auburn, Florida and Ole Miss to follow the Tennessee game. As expected, Stansbury tried to deflect talk of postseason speculation. “If it was against the deaf and blind, it wouldn’t matter right now. They all count as one win and one loss. It’s just the next game,” he said. “We’re trying to win games; who it’s against, at this point it doesn’t matter.”

Don’t think the players don’t understand the magnitude of this one, though. “To have an NCAA chance, this is one of the games that we’ve got to have,” freshman point guard Dee Bost said. I’ll have more on Bost and his fellow Bulldog youngsters later this week.

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7 Responses to “Back On That Road”

  1. imabulldog Says:

    Do I think UT is more talented than us-Heck No
    Are they better than us-Not necessarily…

    But, it’s their size and physicality that scares me. We are not the run around and screen 3 point shot kinda team-we are spot up shooters, and because of that, we are gonna have to work more than usual to separate ourselves from UT defenders.

    Most of the UT guys have the height advantage-so I’d have our boys practice shootin 3-4 ft behind the arch, in order to prepare for the game.

  2. leeearl Says:

    Well, unfortunately we’ve been exposed when we play against the zone and pushed out on the outside perimeter…..I’m with you ima, we need to play physical to beat UT and I believe we start with a bigger line-up like the 2nd LSU game and we’ll win…we need to keep JV out of foul trouble when it becomes physical inside and give him some help…..JV doesn’t foul out in the LSU or Bama game, I think we win….this is my prediction, if Wayne Chism hits 3 3pt shots and more than 75% at the free throw line, we lose….just being stupid…have a great night!

  3. rwriffe Says:

    Be safe on your trip to knoxville Brad. I will be in attendance and pulling hard for the Dawgs. Unfortunately I will be the only MSU fan in a group of four making the 100 mile trip to go. Should be interesting.

  4. Brad Locke Says:

    Since you bring it up, rwriffe, I appreciate your well wishes but am afraid I won’t need them. Money and that 8 p.m. starting time have put the kibosh on going to Knoxville. I hate that, but what’re you gonna do? I will, however, be writing a thorough follow-up story for Friday’s paper.

  5. imabulldog Says:

    uh oh, here comes that guy again who says you don’t do anything BL…:)

    rwriffe, if they start talking smack- just smile and say, when did your boys program start here? 🙂

  6. rwriffe Says:

    they can’t talk to much smack as each one of them actually work for me. LOL. Not to mention that I’m driving.

  7. imabulldog Says:

    there ya go wriffe!

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