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Mississippi State versus Connecticut Round Table Discussion

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A handful of our contributors sat down and discussed Mississippi State’s task in the National Semifinal.

NCAA Womens Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Oklahoma City Regional-Baylor vs Mississippi State Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Justin: The Bulldogs take on the UConn Huskies on Friday. The Huskies have won over 100 games in a row and our most recent memory of playing the Huskies, the Bulldogs lost 98-38 in the Sweet 16 in 2016. How confident are you the Bulldogs can pull off the upset?

Evan: Confidence: 0

Hopefulness: 10000000

TruMaroonNation: Realistically, I don't see State actually winning. It's our first trip here, while UConn is going for their FIFTH straight championship. They have all the experience to go with their insane amount of talent and elite coaching. I think State can potentially keep it a 10-15 point game if State takes care of the ball.

Chief Dragon Canoe: I watched that game last year, and it was brutal. Add the fact that they've cruised through 100+ games unbeaten, that just makes me want to ball up in the fetal position and cry. But this year is different, this Bulldog team just has something special going and I'm incredibly excited for them to get another shot at UConn.

Evan: Silver lining: schools always put up Final Four banners, but rarely national runner up banners so I'd rather lose to UConn in the final four than in the nation championship game. Shoutout FSU/Stanford/South Carolina.

Chief Dragon Canoe: If we do beat UConn, I vote to also put up a "Hey we beat UConn" banner along with a Final Four banner.

Ethan: I mean I kinda want to get a tattoo to be honest so I'll say that we're gonna beat UConn 150-1, which is their record over the past four seasons.

Realistically, how close do y’all see this game being? Within 20 points? Within 30? This team has the depth to grind out a lot of wins, as we’ve seen, but UConn is on a whole different level.

Evan: I think it's in the 20-25 range

UConn is just so unreal they way they dominate teams on the defensive end and shoot the lights out on the other. No matter the night, at least one of their players is having a 25+ point night.

Chief Dragon Canoe: I'm not a numbers guy, but I agree with Evan on this. I will say I wouldn't be surprised though if they beat us by 35-40.

Ethan: I don’t know how to feel about this game, in all honesty. Look at Tulane as the perfect example. They lose their first matchup by what, 50? Their second game was decided by 3 points. And this MSU team just feels different than most teams in the past.

Chief Dragon Canoe: I really believe this team can challenge UConn, but they're gonna need another game like the one we saw against Baylor. Limit the turnovers and hope that they can get the same production from the key players. Morgan William may have to score another 41 points.

Ethan: Can we just appreciate the way that someone has stepped up in huge ways throughout this tournament. The most obvious example being Itty Bitty, but man it has been fun to see the depth on this team.

Chief Dragon Canoe: Give Thanks 4 Depth

Will: It depends on what Mississippi State mentality is going to show up. If the stage is too big then it's going to be a long night. But if this is the matchup that the team has been looking forward to then it's going to be a lot closer then we all think. The significance of the Baylor win can not be understated when discussing the game. MSU went to the toughest path to the Final Four while UConn went the easiest. MSU played in the SEC while UConn played in the AAC. Having not met since last season's shacking I think it's about 50/50. UConn will be pretty confident.

Justin: If you want to make a case for State winning, I can, but it requires a whole bunch of ifs. Can the Bulldogs win? Sure, but it's a long shot. But I'm already seeing some fans say they expect MSU to win. People convinced themselves we'd beat them last year and we got drummed. Any advice you would give to those saying they expect to win Friday night?

Ethan: Don’t buy lotto tickets.

Don’t invest in the stock market.

Don’t go skydiving.

Don’t bet on sports.

Don’t tweet.

Chief Dragon Canoe: I love the positivity, I love the faith you have in this women's team, but you have to understand that UConn is the most dominant and talented women's basketball program ever. Our girls will have to play almost perfect if they're gonna beat UConn.

Evan: ^^^

Ethan: Being realistic here: I think, the best case scenario for MSU, is a 10 point loss. Worst case: MSU loses by 60 again.

Will: Expect to win? It's UConn. There's a reason they are on a very long winning streak. Don't do that to yourself.

Justin: Is everyone prepared for the people who will say we're not True Maroon for being so convinced the Bulldogs won't win Friday?

Evan: Yeah because people told me to transfer after I questioned Dan Mullen early last season.

Ethan: Same

I think just about everybody in this thread is more than okay with dealing with angry fans on the innernetz.

Will: I'm prepared. I don't care. I'll probably be very optimistic here though.

Justin: Let's dream for a bit and imagine a world where do pull off this upset? Do you think the team will have enough left in the tank to win Sunday after a game that will likely be emotionally draining?

Evan: If we beat UConn, I will drive to Dallas on Saturday.

Chief Dragon Canoe: If we beat them I think it's pretty much gonna be a shot of adrenaline for these girls. If they take down UConn, their mindset has to be that they can beat absolutely anyone who lines up against them in that championship game.

Ethan: IF they beat UConn, and they're facing South Carolina, motivation won't be an issue at all. If it isn't South Carolina in the championship game with MSU, then I'd be concerned.

TruMaroonNation: IF Mississippi State pulls off the huge upset, I believe Vic will have them in the right mindset for the Championship game. Like Ethan said, if it's South Carolina, State wouldn't have any trouble adjusting in time for the game. State vs Carolina part 3 - this time in an actual neural site - would be entertaining.

Will: The Championship game worries me more than the Final Four game. I'll explain why. Rewind to a couple of seasons ago in the men's basketball tournament. Kentucky was 38-0 and undefeated facing a revenge minded Wisconsin team. And Wisconsin was able to win. However, they thought they were the world’s best for doing that and forgot to prepare for their next game: Duke. And they lost. MSU would probably have to play Stanford if I guess who is a WBB power as well. If they overlook them because they beat UConn then it will be very disappointing. A South Carolina rematch might be the best scenario here since they would be playing on an actual neutral site. Plus all their fans will be in Phoenix probably.

Justin: Last thing before we do predictions, if the Bulldogs are going to win, what's the one thing in your mind HAS to happen for the Bulldogs?

Ethan: Victoria Vivians scores 81, Kobe Bryant style.

Evan: Less than 10 turnovers, UConn has to shoot less than 40% and we have to have at least 3 girls with 20+ points.

Ethan: That too.

Chief Dragon Canoe: Me and my friend Jeremy drive to Dallas, go to the arena, wait until we take a 2-0 lead, and then cut all of the power causing UConn to forfeit and we win.

Ethan: DO THAT.

Justin: Realistically, I think if at least one player has to have the greatest game of her career if the Bulldogs want to win.

TruMaroonNation: If State were to win, it would be because of Morgan William and McCowan. Morgan William is the leader and controls the tempo, where the ball goes, and the offense as a whole. When she's on like Sunday, State 'can' beat anyone in the country. UConn lacks post depth, so that's where Okorie and McCowan can benefit. McCown obviously had the monster game versus Washington and Okorie held her own against an elite Baylor front court. If they were to win, they'd need to win the battle on the boards and in the paint, and need to take care of the basketball. It's a long shot, but State has the pieces to pull it off and everything falls right.

Will: If Mississippi State is going to win, then they need a player to step up. It doesn't have to be a particular one. This is a very deep team that has had player after player step up in the tournament. Whether that's Blair Schaefer, Teaira, McCowan, or Morgan William, they just have had that March Madness Magic they need to make a run. I think a player like Roshunda Johnson or Dominque Dillingham could put MSU where they need to be.

Justin: Let's do predictions. Who wins and by how much?

Evan: UConn by 25.

Ethan: UConn by 17.

TruMaroonNation: I think UConn continues their streak and wins 85-71

Will: Before I do my prediction let me just say this. I am in no way saying MSU is the better team. Quite frankly, I thought Baylor was the better team Sunday Night. But this is March Madness. And there is a significant difference in the competition MSU and UConn played up to this point in the Tournament. I will make this bold prediction and say I'll be shocked if it isn't a single digit game. But UConn is UConn. 86-82 they win. Let me add if Schaefer plays him close, then this could be the best Challenger to UConn for the future. But UConn is either losing here or winning it all.

Chief Dragon Canoe: I'll be the optimist here and say Dawgs Eat 82-79.

Justin: I'll be optimistic too, but not that optimistic. UConn wins 81-70.

Chief Dragon Canoe: Well everyone saw it here first, I called the upset of UConn.