Can State make the Final Four?
By By Austin Bishop / EMG regional sports director
March 17, 2002
Scanning the sports scene on a Sunday while wondering if the Mississippi State men's basketball team can repeat the success of the 1996 team …
The 27-7 Bulldogs of Mississippi State University, are really a very interesting basketball team.
The talent is there.
Mario Austin is a man on the inside and very difficult for opponents to handle in the paint.
Derrick Zimmerman has proven to be a solid point guard, who can get the job both offensively and defensively.
Marckell Patterson is a true scorer who can pick up points in a variety of ways.
That accounts for the three things you just have to have to be successful in the NCAA Basketball Tournament an inside game, a good point guard and a scorer. The Bulldogs have all three.
There is also something else going MSU's way, the Bulldogs are hot. With the win over McNeese State on Friday MSU has now won nine straight games, including an impressive run through the tough Southeastern Conference Tournament.
Next up is Texas today in Dallas. That will be tough, but certainly won't be impossible.
If the Bulldogs win that game, then the next challenge will be either Wake Forest or Oregon likely Oregon in Madison, Wisc.
A win there and State will face either Kansas, Stanford, Creighton or Illinois for the right to make the Final Four in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
When the Bulldogs are playing well, they can compete with anyone. But they can't afford to have an average game against a good team.
Can MSU actually make the Final Four?
Who knows? But we will get part of that answer today.
Park makes dramatic return
Last year was one of much drama for NASCAR.
There was the death of Dale Earnhardt and Dale Jr.'s wins at Daytona and Talladega.
But there was another traumatic moment that was lost on some. Steve Park, a driver for Dale Earnhardt Inc., nearly lost his life in aBIreak accident in a Busch race at Darlington, S.C.
After surviving damage to the brain, that has blurred his vision and slurred his speech, Park is making a return to stock car racing at the very same Darlington today.
He was the fourth fastest in qualifying on Friday, a major accomplishment for a man that many thought would never race again, much less be competitive. The chances of him winning today are slim, but a top 10 or even top five finish are possible.
It was incredible to watch Dale Jr. win at Daytona, the site of his dad's death. It was unbelievable to watch the No. 8 car of Junior win at Talladega, a year after his father won his last race at the same track.
It would be beyond words if Park were to win today at Darlington. But, stranger things have happened.
We saw that last year.
Sports fans will fall for anything
It is hard for me to believe that Mike Tyson is going to be allowed to fight again, much less that states and Washington, D.C., are actually going to bid over who gets the fight.
But do you know what is even more incredible? That people will actually pay to watch it. That just blows my mind.
But they will. Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson will get huge paydays and we will be the reason. Man, what a crazy world we live in?
Fast-pitch continues to grow
The popularity of fast-pitch softball continues to grow.
There are a lot of reasons for that, including that it is fun to watch. A lot of people have put a lot of blood-and-sweat into the sport, with the girls being on the top of the list.
But I have to give guys like Clarkdale coach Rick Roberson and Newton County head man Mack Fanning some credit too.
I'm not about to get into the fight over which is better fast-pitch or slow-pitch. I'm just glad that girls with desire and talent have the opportunity to play the game they love.