Bulldogs put perfect road record on the line in Atlanta
By By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
March 8, 2004
Mississippi State University will take its perfect road show into the Southeastern Conference basketball tournament this weekend.
The No. 5-ranked Bulldogs, who may move up in the polls today because of previously unbeaten Stanford's loss to Washington, wrapped up their regular season with an 82-81 win over Alabama on Saturday.
MSU's come-from-behind victory against the Crimson Tide gave the team a spotless 12-0 mark on the road this season. The Bulldogs (25-2, 14-2 SEC) also won their one game on a neutral court, defeating New Orleans 77-59 in Tupelo on Dec. 16.
The victory over Alabama also gave MSU its first outright SEC regular-season championship since the 1962-63 season.
The Bulldogs' win over the Tide made Kentucky's 82-62 whitewashing of Florida a moot point in the Wildcats' pursuit of a share of the conference crown.
MSU enters the conference tournament as the No. 1 seed from the Western Conference and will have a bye in the opening round, which begins in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Thursday.
The Bulldogs could open play in the tournament against their in-state rivals, the Ole Miss Rebels.
Ole Miss (13-14, 5-11 SEC) ended up with the fifth seed in the West by virtue of its 55-45 win over Arkansas (12-15, 4-12 SEC) and Auburn's 78-66 win over LSU.
The Rebels will meet Vanderbilt, the fourth seed from the East, at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday. The winner will play MSU in the second round at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
Ole Miss' victory over Arkansas snapped the team's five-game slide, as the Rebels prepare for the SEC tourney and their last shot to make the NCAA tournament. The winner of the conference tournament receives an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.
Georgia and Auburn tip off the SEC tournament at noon on Thursday. Georgia (15-12, 7-9 SEC) enters as the No. 5 seed from the East, and Auburn (14-13, 5-11 SEC) is the West's fourth-seeded team.
Arkansas, the West's sixth seed, takes on the East's No. 3 South Carolina (21-9, 8-8 SEC) on Thursday.
Tennessee (15-12, 7-9 SEC), the sixth seed from the East, closes out the opening round of the conference tournament against Alabama (16-11, 8-8 SEC), the West's third seed, following Ole Miss' contest against Vanderbilt.
Kentucky (23-4, 13-3 SEC), which is the top-seeded team from the East, will open the second round of the tournament against the winner of Georgia-Auburn at noon on Friday.
LSU (18-9, 8-8 SEC), which also earned a first-round bye with a second-place finish in the West, takes on the winner of Arkansas-South Carolina at 2:15 p.m. Friday.
Florida (18-9, 9-7 SEC), the No. 2 seed from the East, closes the second round against the winner of Tennessee-Alabama.