February 21, 2012

Bulldogs have the ultimate opportunity

Two weeks ago it appeared that Mississippi State had cemented itself into the NCAA Tournament picture.

But three straight losses have the Bulldogs reeling and are now on the bubble heading into the final stretch of the season. MSU has a chance tonight to prove they belong in the Big Dance if they can upset top-seeded Kentucky in Starkville.

"As a player and as a coach this is what you want," said MSU head coach Rick Stansbury. "How many opportunities do you have to play the number one team in the country on your home court. They don't come around very often. It could be good and it could be bad but it's a great opportunity. You want a chance to play against the best and we have that opportunity. We've got them on our home court and we know we're going to have to play awfully well to have a chance here but stranger things have happened in college athletics."

Stansbury, a Kentucky native and Campbellsville graduate, will be the first to admit that a win over the Wildcats is a difficult task indeed.

"In all my years, I think it's the best Kentucky team I've seen," Stansbury said. "I've seen some pretty good ones. (Rick) Pitino had some pretty good ones back in those days but I don't know if I've seen a team that's as glued down as this team is and have somebody protecting that basket like they have. They've had some big guys in the past, all those big boys they've had. But they've never had one defensively protect that rim the way this cat protects it."

The player in the post Stansbury is referring to is freshman forward Anthony Davis. The 6-foot-10, 220-pounder leads UK with 13.9 points, 9.7 rebounds and 4.9 blocks per game.

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