STARKVILLE -- The Mississippi State men's basketball team's players and coaches have expressed their comfort with playing the jam-packed slate at the Southeastern Conference. But how do their chances this season stack up against the past two seasons, when the Bulldogs made it to the title game? MSU coach Rick Stansbury thinks this year's team has as good a chance as the past two when it plays its first game Friday against the winner of the first-round game Thursday between Vanderbilt University and LSU.
JACKSON -- To make its first NCAA tournament since 2002, Mississippi must win four games in four days in the Southeastern Conference Tournament that begins Thursday in Atlanta. A daunting task -- one Rebels coach Andy Kennedy hasn't really even considered.
JACKSON -- Former Southern Miss star Clarence Weatherspoon knows a good big man when he sees one. So in his mind, Gary Flowers deserves all the accolades that come his way. Flowers, a 6-foot-8 senior forward, won the Cellular South Howell Trophy on Monday afternoon, given to the state of Mississippi's top men's college basketball player. Delta State's Veronica Walker won the Cellular South Gillom Trophy, given to state's top women's player.
JACKSON -- The recipients of the Howell and Gillom trophies for the best men's and women's college basketball players in the state of Mississippi will be announced today at a luncheon beginning at 11:15 a.m. at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.
STARKVILLE -- Ravern Johnson has been in the zone since returning from a two-game suspension. On Senior Day Saturday, the Mississippi State guard scored 21 points, dished out two assists, and had two steals in a 60-58 win against South Carolina. The performance was the third straight game in which he has scored 20 points or more points, and the sixth in which he has scored 15 or more. Johnson's effort helped the Bulldogs (17-13, 9-7 Southeastern Conference) win their third straight game, and fourth in their past five.
STARKVILLE -- On the heels of Mississippi State's punting game posting its best statistical season of the decade, sophomore punter Baker Swedenburg knows he needs to perform well. The Heritage Academy graduate sat behind Heath Hutchins in each of the past two seasons and watched him drop 24 punts inside the 20-yard line and finish 29th nationally in net punting last season. The Bulldogs allowed just 5.5 yards per punt return last season, which ranked third in the league. MSU's punting game and a ball-control offense often put its defense in favorable positions with long fields to defend.
The work has only started. That's the approach Sharon Fanning-Otis took a day after her Mississippi State women's basketball saw its season end Friday in a 69-55 loss to Vanderbilt in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.
OXFORD -- In a season characterized by inconsistency, the University of Mississippi men's basketball team appears to have gotten hot again at the right time. Chris Warren scored 24 points and handed out nine assists as the Rebels connected on 14 3-point shots to defeat the University of Arkansas 84-74 Saturday in the regular-season finale for both teams.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- JaMychal Green, Charvez Davis, and University of Alabama men's basketball team climbed out of a recent funk in a big way. Green had 19 points and nine rebounds, Davis scored 17 and the Crimson Tide hung on for a 65-57 win against Georgia on Saturday to rebound from a 27-point humbling at No. 14 Florida and boost its NCAA tournament hopes.
STARKVILLE -- James Carmon isn't afraid to say he has money on his mind. Most players entering their senior season are contemplating what they need to do to make it to the NFL. Most seniors aren't switching positions.
STARKVILLE -- Dan Mullen is all about keeping things fresh. The Mississippi State football coach doesn't want players to get complacent after the team went 9-4 and thrashed the University of Michigan in the Gator Bowl last season.
STARKVILLE -- Sometimes players have to take it upon themselves to elevate their play and be "the guy." Mississippi State men's golf coach Clay Homan is waiting for one of his golfers to grab the torch and to run with it.
STARKVILLE -- Just three days after their seniors came up big in the most important win of the season, the Mississippi State men's basketball team will honor the group at 1 p.m. Saturday (ESPN2) when it plays host to the University of South Carolina.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Diamber Johnson scored her team's final 11 points Thursday night to lead the 11th-seeded Mississippi State women's basketball team to a 49-47 victory against sixth-seeded Auburn in a Southeastern Conference Tournament opening-round game at Bridgestone Arena.
STARKVILLE -- The student turned teacher has left a model for her teammates to follow. At 9 tonight, Mary Kathryn Govero will try to extend her career at least one more game when she leads the 11th-seeded Mississippi State women's basketball team against sixth-seeded Auburn (15-14) in the first round of the Southeastern Conference tournament in Nashville, Tenn.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Ravern Johnson has little doubt the Mississippi State men's basketball team has talent on par with any other. The senior is doing his best to add a touch of consistency in an otherwise inconsistent season for the Bulldogs.
AUBURN, Ala. -- The Auburn University men's basketball team was halfway to another lopsided loss to the University of Mississippi. Their shots weren't falling while Dundrecous Nelson and the Rebels couldn't seem to miss. Then Kenny Gabriel scored 15 of his career-high 24 points in the second half and Chris Denson hit four straight free throws in the final 35 seconds Wednesday to help Auburn cap a 76-73 comeback.
HATTIESBURG -- After Preston Purifoy's 3-pointer rolled around the basket and fell through the hoop for what proved to be the game-winner, an understandably raucous celebration by the University of Alabama at Birmingham men's basketball team followed.
STARKVILLE -- Wendell Lewis is easily the most athletic post player on the Mississippi State men's basketball team. Even with heralded center Renardo Sidney turning heads with his inside-out offensive game, the quick-footed, explosive Lewis can cause comparable damage on defense and on the boards. He just hasn't showcased his skills consistently.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- As Dee Bost drove the court with less than 10 seconds on the clock, Wendell Lewis knew he had to be in position under the basket to score off either an assist or a rebound. He also knew he had little room for error.
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