The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

MSU takes on Big East foe West Virginia

 

Less than a month ago, the Akron Zips marched to Starkville and dominated every facet of their contest with the Mississippi State men’s basketball team, which at the time was only playing in its second game of the 2011-2012 season. The loss left State fans with no choice but to draw parallels to bad, unforeseen losses in past seasons. 

MSU, however, has refused to let the upset at the hands of the Zips define its season, and senior point guard Dee Bost went as far as to say the loss helped bring him and his teammates back down to earth. 

“A lot of teams have their ups and downs, and of course we had ours early (in the season),” said Bost. “We needed that loss, and it helped us change our focus going to New York.”

The change of focus helped the Dogs in New York, where they torched the Texas A&M Aggies and Arizona Wildcats en route to being crowned champion of the 2K Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer. After the tournament, MSU came back to Starkville and beat three mid-major opponents by an impressive average of over 21 points per contest. 

The wins pushed the Dogs’ record to 7-1, which is the best start for State since the 2003-2004 season. State is now the  winner of six straight and is currently ranked 21st in the latest Associated Press poll. The Bulldogs face  a Saturday night matchup with the West Virginia Mountaineers as part of the SEC vs. Big East Challenge taking place throughout the two conferences this week.

Under the direction of head coach Bob Huggins, West Virginia is a team that is no stranger to March Madness, having played in the NCAA tournament four consecutive years. The highlight of that impressive run was in the 2009-2010 season, when the Mountaineers advanced all the way to the Final Four before being beaten by Duke. 

This season, WVU (4-1) has fallen victim only to Kent State and the Mountaineers rank inside the top 50 in the country in points per game, rebounds per game, assists per game and field goal percentage. 

Although West Virginia is not currently ranked, MSU head coach Rick Stansbury said it would be foolish to look past the Mountaineers.

“The biggest thing to simulate is when they shoot it, their best offense is to try and go get it,” Stansbury said. “Forget the rankings, I promise you West Virginia is one of the better teams in the country.”

To keep WVU off the boards, State will depend on junior forward Arnett Moultrie, who leads the Southeastern Conference with 10.8 rebounds per game. Besides having talent as a rebounder, Moultrie has also made a huge impact on the MSU basketball team as a scorer. Through eight games, the forward is second on the team with 16 points per game. 

MSU’s game against West Virginia will tipoff at 8 p.m. Saturday evening at Humphrey Coliseum and can be seen on ESPNU.

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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
MSU takes on Big East foe West Virginia