The Bulldogs are set to tip-off against the Tar Heels on Saturday in the 2nd Round of the NIT. State is looking forward to the national exposure that playing a team like North Carolina can bring, even if it is in the NIT. Stansbury has already talked this week about why it is hard for Mississippi State to schedule opponents like UNC, especially for home games:
"You can't pick up the phone and call (Carolina) to ask for a home-and-home with them," Stansbury said. "That's the same reason we can't schedule Duke, UCLA or Kansas. Those teams don't come to Starkville.
It is essential that the atmosphere at The Hump be as electric as it has ever been. Students are out for Spring Break this week, so that combined with the late start time left quite a few empty seats for the Round 1 game against Jackson State. Tickets sales already look good for the Round 2 matchup. Most students will be returning to campus and alumni will be able to make a day trip out of the game. UNC will probably have some fans in tow as well. Associate AD Mike Richey tweeted yesterday that the only NIT tickets available for Round 2 were student tix and a handful of others.
Barry Stewart Will Play
Barry Stewart took himself out of the JSU game. Apparently, he was wearing some new shoes that did not fit well and he rolled his ankle or something like that. Tests have come back negative for a fracture so he is cleared to practice this week and play on Saturday. We will need his defensive skills against the 'Heels for sure.
I have the Bulldogs going all the way in the NIT. In their bracket, State will defeat UNC, welcome UAB to The Hump and send them packing back to Birmingham. Then they will take care of UConn at MSG in the semifinals and play Illinois for the title.
How do you see the NIT breaking down?
Also, I have Kansas v. Syracuse and Kentucky v. Villanova for my final four, with Kansas and Kentucky playing for the title and Kentucky winning out.