STARKVILLE — The sigh heard in the Templeton Athletic Academic Center at 6:44 p.m. Monday filled the room. It’s not that the Mississippi State women’s basketball team doubted it would be one of the 64 schools to see its name on ESPN, but the suspense made things interesting.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. –– Mississippi State’s hopes of making the NCAA Tournament were dashed Sunday afternoon, suffering its second heartbreaking loss of the season to the Kentucky Wildcats. An automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament slipped through Mississippi State’s grasp as it lost a late lead in regulation and endured a 75-74 overtime loss in the Southeastern Conference Tournament championship game at Bridgestone Arena.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — In the end of Mississippi State’s statement run at the Southeastern Conference Tournament, the Bulldogs were shut out of the NCAA Tournament for not doing enough during the course of the season. Throw out the added high-RPI win against Vanderbilt in the SEC Tournament semifinals Saturday. Throw out a win against NCAA qualifier Florida in the tournament Friday. Nevermind pushing No. 1 seed Kentucky to the limit in a 75-74 overtime loss in the title game Sunday.
Sharon Fanning-Otis is more anxious than nervous today. The veteran Mississippi State women’s basketball coach feels confident her team will be one of 64 announced at 6 p.m. today (ESPN) when the 64-team NCAA tournament field is announced. But Fanning-Otis has been coaching long enough to know nothing is guaranteed. And while people have told Fanning-Otis the Lady Bulldogs likely will be anywhere from a No. 7 seed to a No. 10 seed, she is eager to find out who her team will play and where it will go.
Mark White believed. The East Mississippi Community College men’s basketball team had completed its preseason preparations for the 2009-10 season and the Lions were ready to discuss their goals. The list was packed with title chances. As White examined an itinerary that included winning a MACJC North Division title, a state and a regional title and then a national championship, he knew the Lions had it in them to accomplish each one.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Another big lead. Another nail-biter of a second half. Another Mississippi State appearance in the finals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Always a hallmark for Rick Stansbury’s Mississippi State men’s basketball teams, defense helped push the Bulldogs to their second straight Southeastern Conference Tournament title game.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Mississippi State men’s basketball team had its best offensive performance of the season Friday night, but had to stave off a furious Florida comeback on Day 2 of the Southeastern Conference Tournament.
If current NCAA tournament bracket forecasts pan out, the Southeastern Conference will continue its shift down the national pecking order.
STARKVILLE — When options are few, you just have to go with what you’ve got. The Mississippi State men’s basketball team has played without solid depth in the post and at point guard this season, but has managed a Southeastern Conference Western Division title and a first-round bye in the conference tournament. Luckily, the team has avoided injuries, and hope starting point guard Dee Bost’s hip pointer doesn’t affect his status or play this weekend.
If the East Mississippi Community College baseball team needs a clutch hit, Coach Tony Montgomery wants Drew Vaughan at the plate. Montgomery has confidence in Vaughan in clutch situations with the way he’s swung the bat this season. Vaughan, a sophomore second baseman who is a 2008 graduate of Heritage Academy in Columbus, gave Montgomery a reason to have confidence in him when he belted a game-winning, two-run homer against Arkansas Baptist on Feb. 20.
STARKVILLE — Rick Stansbury doesn’t believe showing his Mississippi State men’s basketball team the game film of its loss to the University of Tennessee on Saturday will help it prepare for the Southeastern Conference Tournament. But the veteran coach hasn’t been able to get the deflating defeat off his mind.
Although the Southeastern Conference tournament begins Thursday, SEC Player of the Year ballots have been submitted to the league, which is why coaches had to answer plenty of “who’d you vote for?” questions Monday on the weekly teleconference.
STARKVILLE — The lengthy saga and NCAA investigation surrounding the eligibility of Mississippi State freshman Renardo Sidney reached a conclusion Friday after the NCAA decided to suspend him for nine games next season and make him repay $11,800 in “impermissible benefits” received before enrolling at MSU. However, MSU officials will appeal the decision.
DULUTH, Ga. — The Mississippi State women’s basketball team took the first punch. The Lady Bulldogs handled the second and third blows, and even dished out a few. But when it came time to weather the barrage of round-house haymakers they knew were going to come in the second half, MSU didn’t have an answer.
DULUTH, Ga. — Pressure defense can make a game crazy. University of Kentucky women’s basketball coach Matthew Mitchell doesn’t mind when things get crazy because that means his Wildcats are playing with energy and forcing mistakes. But sometimes a helter skelter pace can affect the wrong player. In the first 20 minutes Saturday, Mississippi State proved to be even better at forcing turnovers, as Kentucky committed 14 to MSU’s 13.
The lengthy saga and NCAA investigation surrounding the eligibility of Mississippi State University freshman Renardo Sidney has come to ruling after the NCAA reached a decision to bench him for nine basketball games next season and make him repay $11,800.
STARKVILLE — When Jarvis Varnado and Barry Stewart sat together Monday and spoke about Senior Night, they didn’t think their already slim chances of making the NCAA tournament would be even slimmer. Following Wednesday’s 89-80 loss at Auburn, the Mississippi State Bulldogs (21-9, 9-6 Southeastern Conference) enter Senior Night on Saturday looking to pull an upset on their home court against No. 16 Tennessee.
The time is now for the Mississippi State women’s basketball team. The Lady Bulldogs have had four days to regroup and to reflect on a disappointing loss at LSU. Fortunately, the other results Sunday in the Southeastern Conference worked in MSU’s favor and allowed the Lady Bulldogs to earn a No. 3 seed, the highest in program history, and a first-round bye for the SEC Tournament. At 8 tonight, MSU (18-11) will get a chance to live up to that lofty seeding when it takes on sixth-seeded Georgia at The Arena at Gwinnett Center.
CLINTON –- For the second straight year, East Mississippi Community College will be represented in the NJCAA Division I Basketball Championship. Last year the EMCC women made it to the national tournament and this year it’s the men’s turn. The 12th-ranked EMCC Lions punched their ticket to the national tournament Thursday by beating Itawamba Community College 78-64 in the championship game of the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament at A.E. Wood Coliseum on the Mississippi College campus.
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