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Cohen busy recuiting for MSU on eve of NCAA tourney

 

David Miller

 

STARKVILLE -- On the eve of selection Monday, John Cohen didn''t have the type of weekend fans might expect.  

 

His Mississippi State Bulldogs are a bubble team to make the NCAA''s 64-team field, but he hasn''t been in his office glued to the TV or the internet keeping up with other scores. Instead, Cohen''s been busy recruiting while his players have had the last two days off.  

 

"Obviously, we feel like we''re deserving," Cohen said Sunday, "I get twitter, and I get a lot of texts, so yeah, we have ideas, but certainly we''re not that''s our priority. We''ve been talking more our preparation as a team for this week, not what we''re gonna do based on who who we''re gonna see." 

 

The Bulldogs, along with fellow league bubble team LSU, appear to be favorites to make it into the field as one of the last five in.  

 

Selections will be announced at 11:30 a.m. today. 

 

MSU last made the NCAA tournament in 2007, the last time it made it to the College World Series. 

 

Ole Miss, Southeast Louisiana, Kansas State and Cal State Bakersfield are also bubble teams. 

 

Despite losing four of five to end the year and failing to win a game at the Southeastern Conference tournament, Cohen thinks the Bulldogs form prior to the final two weeks of the season will overshadow two losses in the LSU series and two losses in Hoover.  

 

MSU made its run at a SEC tournament spot by winning nine of 10 including eight straight, a run, which when combined with a RPI figure of 31, Cohen feels is a strong enough case to make it in.  

 

"It''s a game of streaks," Cohen said, "and if you look at everybody''s numbers, and if you go deeper than that, if you look at our last 15 or 16 ball games, we played good down the stretch. We are still not at to the point where we can out-talent people. We have to out-hustle and do that everyday. Sometimes, that takes it''s toll in terms of the physical nature of what they''re putting in it." 

 

Deciding where the Bulldogs will play will be a tough decision -- should they make it in -- and it''s an unenviable task, Cohen says.  

 

Speaking geographically, one of many factors that go into selecting at-large teams, Cohen feels like the Bulldogs are favorites to play in Tallahassee (Fla. State) or Atlanta (Ga. Tech).  

 

But there''s a chance MSU could be sent to one of four sites in Texas or possibly to the west coast. 

 

MSU''s chances of a short trip were nixed when Southern Miss wasn''t selected as a regional host. Cohen said he thought Southern Miss was deserving of a shot to host, but he wasn''t surprised the didn''t get the nod.  

 

Arkansas losing out to UCLA in the race for one of the final regional sites reaffirmed the belief that no notion is safe when awaiting a bid. 

 

"I''m absolutely surprised they didn''t get it," Cohen said. "They won the West in the No. 1 RPI conference in America. The committee has a difficult job, and I wouldn''t wish that job on anybody. But there are 10 teams within their RPI and they''re hosting. It''s really easy for people to sit outside that room and count stones, but they have really difficult decisions to make -- travel issues and they kind of have to spread things out around the country."

 

 

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