Get to know the 2013-14 Mississippi State Bulldogs before tomorrow night’s game through this imaginary conversation…
Who coaches Mississippi State? I honestly don’t know.
Mississippi State’s head basketball coach is Rick Ray. Ray was hired in April of 2012 to replace Rick Stansbury. Stansbury, a Kentucky boy, stepped away after 14 years on the Bulldogs sideline.
They really like coaches named Rick, don’t they?
Now that you mention it, yeah, I guess so. Before Stansbury it was a guy named Richard Williams. He was very successful, Mississippi State’s second all-time leader in wins, but he’s more of a Dick.
Oh, I see. So who are the players to watch this year? Dee Bost and Ravern Johnson are always tough.
Believe it or not, Dee Bost and Ravern Johnson are long gone, finally. This year’s leading scorer is Craig Sword, a sophomore guard they call “Chicken.” He earned All-SEC Freshman honors last season and he’s currently averaging over 14 points per game in 2013-14.
Keep an eye on 6-foot-8 senior Colin Burchert, too. He’s coming off a career-high 22 points in his last game and he has five of Mississippi State’s seven double-doubles this season. He’ll be matched up with Julius Randle.
You said they call him Chicken? Like, “Bock-bock-bock-bucock” Chicken?!
Yes, Chicken. Like, the delicious fried poultry at Indi’s in Lexington or what Indiana fans call John Calipari when he refuses to play in Assembly Hall. It has been Sword’s nickname since he was a baby and his coach said he won’t answer if you call him Craig.
So don’t call him Craig if you see him; call him Chicken.
Noted. Sounds like that Chicken guy might get a lot of buckets. Get it?
I get it. And it’s not funny.
Oh, come on. I hear he’s great on the wing.
Stop. We’re not doing this.
But he gets gobbled up when he goes inside.
That’s enough. Do you want to learn more about Mississippi State or make chicken jokes all night? And so you know, chickens don’t even gobble. That’s a turkey, you imbecile.
Now you’ve got me worked up and my anger is only egging you on. I give up.
Ha. You said egg.
OK I’m done. Tell me about last season. Kentucky beat Mississippi State, right?
Yes, Kentucky defeated a very bad Mississippi State team by 30 points. State brought only eight players to the game: six scholarship guys and two walk-ons. Only two Bulldogs reached double-figures while Kentucky’s entire starting lineup scored 11 or more points.
Ryan Harrow was UK’s leading scorer with 19 points, if that tells you anything.
Wow. Ryan Harrow. There’s a name.
He’s doing great at Georgia State this season. He’s averaging 19 points and almost five assists per game.
Good for him. What’s Mississippi State’s record this year?
The Bulldogs are 10-3, just like Kentucky, but with a much easier non-conference schedule. State lacks a marquee win and its three losses are to Utah State on the road and at home to TCU and UNLV — all three by double-digits. The Bulldogs also needed overtime to beat 3-4 Loyola (IL) of the MVC at home in early December. Loyola had a shot at the buzzer to win it.
Judging by the two schedules, it looks like Kentucky shouldn’t have any problems getting the win.
No, this is a game Kentucky should easily win. The Cats are very hungry after the 11-day break and Mississippi State, though improved from a year ago, just can’t match up with the talent of UK. Not to mention, Rupp Arena is anxious for another game. The crowd will be electric.
The key will be containing Chicken. I hope he gets in fowl trouble.
This conversation is over.