Start Spreading the News. Mississippi State is heading to the NIT Final Four for the first time since 2007! This will also mark Mississippi State’s first appearance in the Garden since a 67-57 win over Arizona in the 2011 2K Sports Classic. State’s 25 wins are the most since 2004.
Mississippi State dominated the game from start to finish, and led no doubt to who was going to win the game. The Louisville Cardinals were preseason projected by many as a Final Four Team. State was preseason projected 12th in the SEC. Yet here we were in the NIT Quarterfinals. And what an amazing win not only this season, but for Mississippi State period. For State to knock off Louisville on their home court that badly is an unreal accomplishment considering the fact Louisville 2 days ago was coming off of a 20 point demolition of Kermit Davis’s Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders.
Four Mississippi State players scored in double digits. Quinndary Weatherspoon led the team with 19 points and 14 rebounds which is a double double for him. State’s hot shooting once again prevailed shooting 48% and 38% from 3. It is even more remarkable considering one of the worst 3 point shooting teams this season has improved dramatically with the extended 3 point line. I do not think you can consider them among the worst anymore. MSU’s stellar defense held Louisville to 35% and under 30% from 3.
In what maybe the most remarkable stat of the night, State out rebounded the Cardinals 42-32, and they forced 16 Louisville turnovers. Aric Holman had another remarkable night scoring 16 points on the night. Xavian Stapleton and Nick Weatherspoon added 12 points a piece.
There wasn’t a particular memorable moment in the game. After all Mississippi State led by as many as 27, and they led by double digits from the 2nd quarter to the end of the game. It just added on to one of the best postseasons Mississippi State has ever had. 3 wins over power 5 schools, 2 true road wins, a buzzer beater, a domination of an ACC opponent on the road, and a trip to New York City. Does it get any better than this? Well Mississippi State has only made it this far one other time. They ended up losing in the 2007 semifinals. If State can win their next two games, this postseason will only be topped by the 1996 Final Four run. Irregardless of what happens at this point, Mississippi State has a fan base that is fired up for Men’s Basketball once again. Mississippi State has a top 10 recruiting class, and they return everyone from this years team. This will certainly make the 2018-2019 Men’s Basketball season one of the most anticipated seasons in school history.
But before next season, the Bulldogs still have one maybe two more games. Mississippi State is set to face Pennsylvania State Tuesday March 27th at either 6:00 or 8:30 pm ct on ESPN from downtown New York City. Should Mississippi State advance to the Championship, they would face either Saint Mary’s, Utah, Oklahoma State, or Western Kentucky. Western Kentucky travels to Oklahoma State, and Utah travels to Saint Mary’s Wednesday night to decide the remaining 2 teams that will head to New York. So rest assured Bulldogs, it is still possible for Mississippi State to face Rick Stansbury in the NIT. And that is certainly the NIT Finals most Mississippi State fans dream about.