STARKVILLE — Mississippi State has answered ESPN’s call. When the sports television network expressed an interest in showcasing one of its football games on Thursday night, Mississippi State was willing to accommodate. MSU Athletic Director Greg Byrne announced Thursday that the Southeastern Conference opener against Auburn has been moved to Sept. 9. It will be the 14th time the Bulldogs have played in ESPN’s Thursday Night game, but the first since 2007.
Barry Stewart’s defensive skills will be put to the test Saturday. The Mississippi State senior guard will have to switch from guarding the talented University of Mississippi duo of sophomore Terrico White and junior Chris Warren. While Stewart plays his usual off-guard spot, he’ll have to defend White. When he’s asked to spell sophomore Dee Bost at point guard, Stewart will have to deal with Warren. That’s the challenge Stewart will face when the Bulldogs travel to Oxford to play their Southeastern Conference rival at 12:30 p.m. (WCBI).
STARKVILLE — Melanie Balcomb crowed about the Mississippi State women’s basketball team at Southeastern Conference Media Day. The Vanderbilt coach knew MSU was tough after losing in Starkville last season, and she realized the Lady Bulldogs were going to be even tougher this season with four starters returning. “It blew my mind,” Balcomb said when told media members picked MSU to finish fifth in the league. “I haven’t seen a coaches poll, but that is the first thing I looked at and said, ‘How can you pick Mississippi State fifth?’ To me that is totally out of line.”
University of Alabama men’s basketball coach Anthony Grant will find out how at 4 p.m. Saturday (FOX SportsNet South) how his fast-paced style of play will work in the Southeastern Conference when his team opens the league part of its schedule at Louisiana State University. Grant knows Alabama (10-4) is still learning his system, but he likes the progress. “In every game, we learn a little bit more about what it takes to be successful,” Grant said. “We have eight healthy guys now that we’re going with, so with every game I think we’ve had to adjust and make some changes. I think our guys have responded well.”
University of Florida men’s basketball coach Billy Donovan has watched his sport’s tradition grow in the Southeastern Conference the past 20-25 years. He understands the league still has the reputation as being a football league first, but he believes basketball is catching up. Donovan thinks the SEC’s 15-year television agreement with CBS Sports and ESPN can help strengthen that standing. With only Mississippi State, Tennessee, LSU reaching the NCAA tournament last season, Donovan said the lack of exposure is the main reason.
Mary Kathryn Govero didn’t set out Sunday to deliver the production of two players. But with senior guard/forward Tysheka Grimes not able to play Sunday against Auburn, Govero knew she had to do something to help the Mississippi State women’s basketball team in its Southeastern Conference opener.
STARKVILLE — Renardo Sidney remains a topic of conversation. Mississippi State men’s basketball coach Rick Stansbury said Wednesday not much has changed about the status of the freshman forward.
STARKVILLE — The Mississippi State women’s basketball team will have to find a way to get along without Tysheka Grimes for a little longer. MSU coach Sharon Fanning-Otis said Tuesday that Grimes (foot injury) won’t play at home against No. 17 Vanderbilt at 8 p.m. Thursday (CSS) or against No. 4 Tennessee at 1 p.m. Sunday (SEC Network) in Starkville. Grimes injured her foot Friday in practice. Fanning-Otis said Grimes will be re-evaluated Monday, and the hope is she will be back sooner than later.
STARKVILLE —Bethany Washington is used to the ritual. The heating pads start from the end of the Mississippi State bench and work their way from trainer to manager to teammate to her knees. The size of the pads vary from gym to gym, but Washington has pads she brings with her when she travels, just in case, so she can be ready. Once the pads find their home, Washington can stretch out and receive the warmth she needs to keep her joints loose.
It’s time for the University of Mississippi women’s basketball to take care of business. The message from coach Renee Ladner can’t be any clearer as her team prepares to tip off Southeastern Conference play at 2 p.m. today at No. 18 Vanderbilt. The players have compiled a scouting report for today’s game, the coaches have discussed what the Rebels (9-4) will have to accomplish in the 16-game SEC schedule, and now they have to invest the time and effort it will take to help realize the goal of returning to the NCAA tournament.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The numbers will mean a little more to Southeastern Conference women’s basketball coaches this season. Today, all 12 teams will play the first games in their 16-game SEC schedules. This is the first season the SEC, which started women’s basketball play in the 1982-83 season, will feature a 16-game schedule. The decision evoked mixed feelings from SEC coaches last year when they were asked about it at the league’s annual media days gathering in Birmingham, Ala.
Now that junior college quarterback Cam Newton has decided to play at Auburn, Mississippi State’s football team looks to move forward with the signal callers it already has on the roster. Newton, who led Blinn (Texas) College to the junior college national championship, signed with Auburn on Thursday. MSU was in the running for Newton’s services all the way up to New Year’s Eve, but Auburn came through the back door in the final days of the year to snatch him. Newton visited Auburn right before Christmas.
One statistic really bothers Mississippi State basketball coach Rick Stansbury. When a Stansbury-coached team gets outrebounded like it did Monday night against Mississippi Valley State (45-44), it concerns him.
STARKVILLE — The contact would have knocked a lesser guard to the ground. But not much stops Armelie Lumanu when she is in her element.
Four days and counting. That’s how long before the Mississippi State women’s basketball team has before it begins the next part of its testing. At 7 tonight, MSU (8-4) will take on Alcorn State (0-8) at Humphrey Coliseum in its final tune-up before it kicks off its 16-game Southeastern Conference schedule at 2 p.m. Sunday at Auburn.
Darian Donald has taken the next step in his college basketball career. Now, the former Caledonia High School and East Mississippi Community College player is ready to make an impact at Mississippi Valley State University.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State men’s basketball coach Rick Stansbury has no problem with what Phil Turner provides off the bench. Although there were some anxious moments in the post Monday night when senior center Jarvis Varnado got into foul trouble and had to come out of the first half against Mississippi Valley State. Freshmen Wendell Lewis and John Riek pieced together what they could and helped the Bulldogs beat Mississippi Valley 73-45 in front of 5,421 at Humphrey Coliseum.
STARKVILLE — There’s nothing Baxter Price would like more than to see Mississippi State’s basketball team get a big lead against Centenary tonight. As a walk-on with the Bulldogs, that scenario might be the only way Price will get to play and have a chance to score points in front of family and friends at Mississippi Coliseum. The freshman from Brandon, who attended Northwest Rankin High School, said it would be special if he was to receive playing time at 7 tonight when MSU plays in the capital city.
The Mississippi State women’s basketball has discovered this season what it’s like to get an opponent’s best game. When the opposition has been Texas, Rutgers, Southern California, or Xavier, the result has been less than positive for the Lady Bulldogs. MSU put itself in that position coming off a 23-11 season in which it advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament. With four starters and 11 letterwinners returning, optimism entering the season was at an all-time high.
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