Gene Swindoll, Gene's Page

Mississippi State vs UConn: The Star Match-Up

DALLAS, TX - In the recruiting world how many stars a player has coming out of high school determines how good the player is supposed to be. In the Final Four match-up between Mississippi State and UConn one team is loaded with 5-stars and the other is not.

UConn comes into the game ranked the Number 1 team in America and are riding a winning streak of 111 games.

Mississippi State, on the other hand, is the Cinderella of the Final Four. This is their first Final Four in school history. Nobody in the national media expected them to be in this year’s Final Four. But they defeated Washington and their AP Player of the Year, Kelsey Plum, in the Sweet 16 game and number 1 seed Baylor in the Elite 8 game.

UConn, as you would expect, is loaded with 5-star recruits, including four of their five starters. Their fifth starter was a 4-star recruit. Even the sixth man off their bench is a 5-star.

So, of their top six players, five earned 5-star rankings in high school.

While UConn is a who’s who of the 5-star world, Mississippi State is more of a blue collar 3-star group of players. Of their five expected starters in tonight’s game, three are 3-stars and one other starter wasn’t ranked out of high school. The fifth starter, Victoria Vivians, is the lone 5-star recruit. Their sixth man off the bench, Teaira McCowan, is MSU’s only other 5-star recruit, excluding Arkansas transfer guard Jordan Danberry, who is having to sit out this season.

Of Mississippi State’s top six players, two are 5-stars, three 3-stars and one not ranked.

Partly due to that, most folks would believe that Mississippi State has no chance against such a talented group of players, but this MSU team is not your typical team. They have played 5-star type teams and defeated them this season.

Last weekend they defeated Baylor, a team most of the national media thought UConn would be playing tonight.

And that Baylor team has nine players who earned 5-star rankings in high school, including six of the eight players that played against Mississippi State in last weekend’s game. And four of those six were starters against MSU.

Mississippi State has defeated one 5-star Goliath. Now they get the chance to do it again.

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