Bulldogs aim for gold finish on USA trip to Italy


MSU coach Vic Schaefer grabbed the microphone to address the crowd following the Bulldogs' win over Clemson in the NCAA Tournament.

MSU coach Vic Schaefer grabbed the microphone to address the crowd following the Bulldogs' win over Clemson in the NCAA Tournament. Photo by: Jim Lytle/Special to the Dispatch


Ben Portnoy



The grind never stops for Mississippi State head women's basketball coach Vic Schaefer. 


Speaking with the media Wednesday, he disclosed his chaotic summer schedule while reflecting on MSU's 2019 Elite Eight run. 


"Pretty hectic schedule all summer for me and my staff and my players," Schaefer said. "But I'm excited for our players." 


First up is the World University Games in Naples, Italy. The Bulldogs will represent the United States in the event from June 30 to July 12. 


Seniors from this year's team and incoming freshmen are eligible for the tournament. 


Schaefer said Wednesday he expects all five freshmen to be a part of the squad, but he had not heard from the departed seniors. He also has his pick of players around the country, but did not disclose whether he will take on any other personnel. 


To date, the U.S. had won gold in four straight World University Games, but faltered in 2017 when Maryland represented the stars and stripes. Schaefer intends to flips that script. 


"It's a tremendous opportunity to get those kids extra practices and extra games," he said. "But you know what? I want to win." 


FEAR THE DUCK: The wounds of this year's Elite Eight loss to Oregon are still fresh for MSU fans, players and coaches alike, but Schaefer didn't rule out a rematch. Rather, he welcomes it. 


While out in Los Angeles for the Wooden Award presentation, he approached Oregon head coach Kelly Graves about reuniting on the hardwood. 


" I want to play them again," Schaefer said. "And so I got a text message from (Graves) yesterday and so we've talked about trying to start back up in a year or two." 


The Bulldogs and Ducks met twice this season -- both Oregon wins. 


"I think it's fair to say we brought out their best games this past season and they played two pretty good ones against us," Schaefer said. 


Speaking of scheduling, Schaefer revealed that MSU's nonconference schedule is nearly complete.  


In fact, he said he thought the final game was decided Wednesday -- who that will be against is unclear. 


"We're close," Schaefer said. 


Final schedules won't be released for some time, but there's a solid portrait that can be painted of who the Bulldogs will face. 


This year's SEC schedule has already been revealed. MSU will host Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, LSU and Texas A&M while traveling to Kentucky, South Carolina, Missouri and Vanderbilt. 


The conference slate will also include home-and-home games against Ole Miss, Auburn and Georgia. 



Ben Portnoy reports on Mississippi State sports for The Dispatch.


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