February 10, 2009
Danny P Smith -
STARKVILLE -- The Mississippi State Bulldogs take great pride in being back-to-back Southeastern Conference Western Division champions.
Mississippi State''s 2008-09 basketball poster features junior guard Barry Stewart and junior center Jarvis Varnado holding the past two SEC Western Division championship trophies.
The pair would like to have one for each arm before their careers are over.
"Barry and I were talking about if we win it this year and win it next year, we would probably be the first to win four years in a row," Varnado said. "That would be a huge accomplishment if we could get there."
To have a chance to achieve that goal, MSU likely will need to beat LSU at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Humphrey Coliseum.
After playing host to LSU, MSU travels to Auburn for a 4 p.m. game Saturday.
All indications point to this being a big week of basketball for the Bulldogs, but coach Rick Stansbury won''t let his players get too far ahead of themselves.
"We need to talk about is how good LSU is," Stansbury said. "That''s where your worries or thoughts need to be. Kids understand it counts as one win or one loss, and they understand who''s where (in the standings), but we''re halfway through this season and there are eight more to play, and there''s a long way to the finish line."
By beating LSU (19-4, 7-1 SEC), Mississippi State (16-7, 6-2) can tie things in the West and improve its postseason chances.
As hard as it is not to think about what might be, the Bulldogs are trying not to get caught up in the hype.
"We try to stay away from the long-term deal and take it one step at a time," MSU sophomore guard Phil Turner said. "Even though we do see the big picture and how important this (LSU) game is, we know it is a long season."