From 1933-1952 the SEC Tournament was dominated by Kentucky. They stopped holding the tourney until 1979 and Kentucky has pretty much dominated since then too. But here and there other teams in the conference have emerged, and Mississippi State is one of them. The Bulldogs are tied for the 4th most tournament wins with Florida and Georgia at three.
In the first go-round of the SEC Tourney State was 4-19. Since, they are 23-29. Prior to Rick Stansbury's employment at Mississippi State, the program was 7-31 with no championships. Since, they are 20-18 with three championships. Stan's record in the tourney is 16-11, and he's won two of them. To say the least, he has done well in the SEC Tournament compared to his predecessors.
Here are some of the highlights..
MSU lost in the finals to UK in 1933 (the first ever SEC Tournament), but I don't remember that one. Lots of loses ensued until beating Georgia Tech in 1943. Fast forward to 1986 and State wins two games in the tourney but lost in the semi-finals to Alabama. The Tide were good back then, they won four of five from 1987-1991. That '91 year MSU won the regular season championship but lost to Tennessee their first time on the floor.
So prior to 1996, you're talking about only having eight wins in the SEC Tourney since the beginning of time. Since it's '79 rebirth, State was only 4-17. It had been since the first ever tournament in 1933 that MSU had made the finals, and this game was against #1, 16-0, massive favorites Kentucky. But the Dawgs did the unthinkable and won it. Here's a youtoube video remembering the game. MSU's victory in this game is the only thing separating UK from eight straight SEC Tourney championships from 1992-1999.
Loses again in '97 and '98 right out of the gate, but enter Rick Stansbury in 1999. His first year State wins two, goes to the semi-finals and loses in overtime to Arkansas. In '02 the Dawgs won the tournament for the second time ever, beating regular season champ Alabama in the title game. MSU got those two titles during a dominate streak for Kentucky; the Cats won every tournament from 1992-2004 except three. State won two of them and Arkansas won in 2000.
Mississippi State was also victim to Kentucky, falling in the 2003 title game. 2004 featured a disappointing overtime loss to Vanderbilt in State's one and only game. In 2007, Jamont Gordon hit a 3 to tie the game at the buzzer, and MSU eventually won. In 2008, in a game vs. Alabama, a tornado blasted through downtown Atlanta forcing the game to briefly stop before the Dawgs won in overtime. The next day, MSU lost to Georgia in GA Tech's arena (UGA's second game of the day).
2009 featured MSU's only 4-day SEC Tournament championship. UGA, USC, LSU, and Tennessee were the victims. The game against the Vols is up there with Stansbury's best games ever. Back-to-back looked possible in 2010 as State came only seconds away, but Kentucky won in overtime... a bitter pill to swallow.
Here we are in 2012, playing under the newly formatted 1-12 seeding. Up first: Jawja. MSU is 3-8 against the red and black Dawgs in the SEC Tourney. The last time these two teams met on Thursday of the tourney was 2009 - State won it all; before that was 2005 - State won and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.