Bulldog Maroon & White

a Mississippi State sports blog

Bulldogs Help Bulldogs Make History

Posted by Kyle Weidie on March 16, 2008

How dare the Mississippi State Bulldogs lose to the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday. Unfortunately, I was not able to see any part of the game, outside of the last 6 seconds, just after the Charles Rhodes technical foul. I wanted to watch the game, but had obligations of a friend’s birthday dinner. Oh well, I had thought……the Bulldogs, those hailing from Starkville, had the game in the bag, right?

After all, the Georgia Bulldogs played a late (9:45 est start) overtime game versus Ole Miss on Thursday where this happened:

Ole Miss (21-10) sent the game to overtime when David Huertas was fouled on a 3-pointer and made all three free throws, and the Rebels looked to have forced another extra period when Chris Warren sank three after a virtually identical foul with 5.5 seconds left in OT.

But Georgia inbounded the ball to Corey Butler, who had fouled Warren. The walk-on guard made up for his blunder by driving nearly the length of the court before dumping the ball off to Bliss for an open 10-footer. He banked it in softly off the glass, sending the Bulldogs on to face Kentucky in the quarterfinals Friday night.
from secsports.com

Then, after thinking they would be playing Kentucky in the last game on Friday night, Georgia had to wait on a tornado. [So did Mississippi State, but at least the MSU Bulldogs got to finish their game.] UGA waited until noon on Saturday to play the Wildcats; the winner knowing that they would be playing again at 8:30 pm on the same day. Unprecedented.

Just a reminder: this is the same Georgia Bulldogs squad that lost 11 of their last 13 regular season games between January 26 and March 8. Georgia would go on to beat Kentucky, once again in overtime, thanks to some guy named Zac.

Silly me for thinking that Mississippi State would take care of business, especially when factoring in Georgia’s hurdles. Silly me indeed. How could one set of Bulldogs possibly underestimate another set of Bulldogs to the tune of 64-60 [box score].

Good for Georgia though, and good for Dennis Felton. I think he’s a good coach, and he might have just saved his job as Georgia capped their amazing run by beating Arkansas for the 2008 SEC Tournament Championship and earning them an automatic bid to the Big Dance; a 14 seed playing #3 Xavier in Washington, DC.

Many people, such as the Clarion-Ledger’s Rick Cleveland, will tell you that the Georgia Bulldogs “wanted it” more. I’m just struck as to why my Mississippi State Bulldogs “wanted it” less.

Did the loss hurt seeding for MSU? Of course. Mississippi State had a chance to be a 6, maybe even a 5 seed with an SEC Tournament win…but more likely a 6. This notebook entry from the Clarion-Ledger gives a report on seeding, as well as this excerpt: “As for tempo, Stansbury lauded Georgia’s decision to play mostly zone, which helped UGA save its legs.”

Clearly, zone defense was a great option for UGA to preserve their strength. However, I’d be willing to gamble that Georgia would have used a zone against Mississippi State regardless of their situation. From other post-game quotes, Rick Stansbury seems to be pretty upset that Mississippi State was able to limit their turnovers (only 6) and sink 16-20 FTs (better than par for the course), yet giving up a whopping 46 rebounds to Georgia while MSU only totaled 33…..a fact that Stansbury harped on: “It’s easy for me to watch that game and see that happening, but I always look at one stat, and that one stat tells me where it lies. We got rebounded again, probably the most we got out rebounded all year long, 46 to 33.”

So Where Do The Mississippi State Bulldogs Stand Right Now?

Well, M-State is an 8 seed in the 2008 NCAA Tournament and are semi-close to home in Little Rock, Arkansas. The Bulldogs will be playing the 9 seed Oregon Ducks, the winner most likely going up against the south bracket #1 seed (and national #2) Memphis Tigers. “It ain’t going to be easy,” as goes the classic Stansbury quote. Hopefully, the loss to Georgia will light a fire under some MSU Bulldog butts. An analysis of the NCAA tournament and the chances of Mississippi State will be forthcoming.

The Gaffe of the SEC

The Big Lead gives us a clip of the live CBS coverage as the tornado hit during the Mississippi State – Alabama game in Atlanta — in case you didn’t see it, or if like me, you were watching the game in a bar with no sound.

Only 400 tickets were available to each school for the SEC tournament games at Georgia Tech, most going to officials, families and big money contributors. In case you missed it, Gary Parrish of CBS Sportsline already compared the organization of the 2008 SEC Tournament to that of AAU ball.

But the Southeastern Conference screwed up. Yea, yea…I’m sure that making last-minute arrangements and switching venues as a result of an unexpected tornado wasn’t easy. I sympathize. But any time you have teams playing in front of a half-full arena, the right thing to do has not occurred. The SEC seats schools by sections in their annual conference tournament. Are you telling me that something could not be done to allow those who purchased tickets through the respective participating schools to attend the games, even via a lottery, or on a first-come, first-serve basis? From a major conference, I expect better. This article from the AJC expresses some frustrations, along with the fact that the SEC isn’t sure about a reimbursement program.

Filling Out A Bracket Online…For Money?

The FBI may be watching you.


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