March 19, 2010 1:21:00 PM
STARKVILLE -- Dee Bost is looking forward to Mississippi State''s game against North Carolina in the second round of the NIT.
The sophomore point guard, of Concord, N.C., believes he has something to prove when Mississippi State (24-11) hosts North Carolina (17-16) at Humphrey Coliseum at 11 a.m. Saturday.
The 6-foot-2 Bost was the Class 3A Player of the Year in North Carolina and he wants to play well against the Tar Heels because of what he perceived to be a lack of attention from North Carolina coach Roy Williams and his staff when he was being recruited.
"It''s just another game, but I would like to show them why they should have recruited me a little harder," Bost said.
North Carolina will be an esteemed guest of Mississippi State''s no matter the record or tournament.
When the game tips off, one of college basketball''s most storied programs will take the floor at Humphrey Coliseum.
Usually that storied program is Kentucky, but North Carolina''s six national championships should make for added excitement, no matter how much of a down year Williams'' squad is going through.
The Tar Heels, one point losers of 10 of 12 games, missed the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2003. Williams hadn''t missed the Big Dance since 1989, his first season at Kansas.
So why the big deal for a second-round NIT game?
For one, the Tar Heels won the national title last season and have an all-time NCAA tournament record of 102-39. No team outside of Kentucky has visited Humphrey Coliseum with as much historical prominence as North Carolina.
Former Mississippi State great Bailey Howell, who is the the only Bulldog to have his number retired, is anxious to see the matchup because of the historical significance.
"When I played, the only team in the South that was highly competitive on the national level was Kentucky," Howell said. "You had Murray State and Memphis State back then, which we both played, but you didn''t really have teams like Kentucky, UCLA or Seattle University coming to Starkville. Besides, we only played 25 games back then.
"Playing North Carolina is good for basketball, period. It''s especially good for MSU to compete against a team that''s so highly regarded."
Howell''s assessment of the current college basketball landscape doesn''t differ that much from the late 1950s and early 1960s when he was an all-Southeastern Conference player before becoming an NBA All-Star:
"In the world of basketball, people don''t regard the SEC as high as we think they should," Howell said. "All those teams in the East, they think that''s basketball heaven up there and it''s always been that way."
While the stage won''t be as grand as the NCAA, MSU coach Rick Stansbury admits the North Carolina contest is special because of the Tar Heels'' history. Add in the fact the Bulldogs will have added juice to go with the chip on their shoulder from being snubbed from the NCAA tournament.
The Bulldogs haven''t played a team with North Carolina''s history, outside of Kentucky, since facing Duke in the 2005 NCAA tournament. Ironically, the Bulldogs'' 63-55 loss gave Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski his 66th NCAA tournament win and put him No. 1 on the all-time list past former North Carolina coach Dean Smith.
"Just the tradition of North Carolina, you better respect that," Stansbury said. "They''re not coming to Starkville very often. That doesn''t happen much.
"People always ask, ''Why don''t you ever schedule Duke or North Carolina?'' Well, not just them, UCLA or Kansas, those teams don''t come to Starkville, that''s just the way it is."
And while the Bulldogs enter the game as favorites with a No. 1 seed compared to North Carolina''s No. 4, Stansbury warned of overlooking a team that''s disappointed compared to UNC teams of the past.
"Here''s the first thing about UNC, you look at their record and think they''re not very good, but it''s North Carolina and (Williams) has got the most talent of everyone we''ll play against," Stansbury said. "Seven McDonald''s All-Americans on that roster."
n NOTES: MSU senior guard Barry Stewart will start the game after x-rays on his foot came back negative. Stewart had checked himself out of Tuesday''s game against Jackson State in the first round of the NIT.
Dirk Cotton commented at 3/19/2010 4:11:00 PM:
UNC has 5 national titles, not 6. Some fans claim six because they're counting a mythical championship from 1924 (Helms Foundation) before national championships or even out-of-region play existed.
Don't encourage them.
If UK had less self-respect, it could also claim one of those for 1933.
J.D. Wall commented at 3/19/2010 4:43:00 PM:
UNC vs UK, 21 to 11, UNC.
That's all folks!
jon commented at 3/19/2010 5:29:00 PM:
kentucky is a cheating program with the sleaziest coach in college basketball.
John Wall commented at 3/19/2010 9:54:00 PM:
if my team hadn't one a title this century, i'd be pretty jealous too. if kentucky does win one this year, and then the ncaa revokes it b/c of their sleazy coach, will kentucky fans still try to claim it? we'll see.
go heels! they'll win another one before kentucky does.
braveheel commented at 3/19/2010 9:58:00 PM:
Dee Bost should have worried more about his grades than his recruitment. He failed himself by needing at least a year of juco to catch up academically after high school. Not one div 1 school could admit him after high school. And UNC slighted him? They aren't going to recruit anyone they know wont qualify. He should feel slighted by the system that pushed him through because he was a star athlete. Accept responsibility for your own shortcomings!
UNCBlueBlood commented at 3/19/2010 11:29:00 PM:
UNC may have 7 McD's on the roster, but only 5 (Zeller, Drew, Henson, Strickland, TWear) will actually be suiting up.
Ed Davis (UNC's leading rebounder, shot-blocker, field-goal% leader and second leading-scorer) will be on the sidelines as will freshman David Wear.
I know that the difference between 5 and 7 McD All-Americans doesn't sound like much, but the UNC team with Ed Davis beat Michigan State and Ohio State handily, lost by 2 in Rupp to Kentucky and held a lead over Duke when Davis went down with a broken hand as Kyle Singler slid under him on a layup attempt.
None of UNC's active McD's All-Americans are upper class-men and only one of them started a game last season (Tyler Zeller...and only because Hansbrough was injured to start the season.) Zeller has zero starts for this year's team.
Combined, UNC's 5 McD's All-Americans average 32 points, 15 rebounds and 9 assists per game while playing less than half of the 200 total minutes logged by the team per game.
Yes, UNC has a very rich basketball tradition and are the defending National Champions (minus 4 of last year's starters of course,) but don't fool yourselves into thinking that a win over this particular squad would mean anything more than a win over a 4th-seeded NIT team that is playing in a hostile environment on the road. If, after your team wins, you still think that you have defeated a giant, you are clearly one of those folks who gets a thrill out of kicking people when they are already on the ground while bragging all the while.
Haters can now begin with the "excuses, excuses" rants.
Bobby Johnson commented at 3/20/2010 4:50:00 AM:
Looking at the comments that are posted,seems to me that these two teams are playing for the 66th best team in American. Mississippi State hasn"t won anything on the national scale and Carolina has five national titles to its credit.However,you think this is Mississippi national title game if they beat N.C.with which has a very poore team.Well when its all said and done on Saturday,Heels win or loose will be back in the old saddle in the next year or so looking for their 6th national title and you guys will stil be looking to get in the field of 96.So good luck to both teams!!!!
BleedUNCblue commented at 3/20/2010 9:07:00 AM:
This article states "The Tar Heels, one point losers of 10 of 12 games". That is incorrect. The Heels never had a single 1 point loss all season. They did have two 2 point loses, one of which was at Rupp. I agree with everything UNCBlueBlood stated. His facts, as opposed to this article are correct. MSU, pump yourself up, but don't do it based on exaggerated untruths from your coach or all the articles coming out of your state.
typicalNCblue commented at 3/20/2010 10:50:00 AM:
Why are all you NC fans over here spouting how great your team is/was? Is it that bad that you have to come here and talk about the past when your team sucks big time this year? Geez .. we just play the game here at Mississippi State and that's all. All the trash talk you bring to this comment section just shows us what we already knew .. your fans are the typical "we are better than you" fans like the ones just east of Columbus. Give it a break folks .. you are starting to get to the moronic level when you come to a little newspaper and act like this.
bully 9 commented at 3/20/2010 3:43:00 PM:
STATE GOT CHEATED AGAIN. THEY TOOK THE GAME AWAY FROM US. THIS WAS THE WORSE OFFICATING I HAVE EVER SAW. WORST THAN KY.
modine commented at 3/20/2010 5:36:00 PM:
You are obviously a Tennessee grad in Honors English.....