Nokia Sugar Bowl Classic.
"It was a great situation for our team and fans to be able to come back to this tournament. The Sugar Bowl people have done a great job the two years we have been in it. We have had great crowds. A lot of the Mississippi State people in southern Mississippi don't get a lot of chances to see us play so it's a great opportunity for them."
His team's play.
"Our team came out and played with great energy. I thought we came out in the first six minutes and set the tone of the game. One thing I really liked was our ability to share the basketball. When you look at the stats sheet, you see different guys step up. That's what makes us pretty difficult to defend at times. We aren't a one- or two-man basketball team. We have five or six people who are very capable of stepping up and leading us in scoring."
"I know Tulane is a very young basketball team. Coach Finney does a very good job. They will get better as the year goes on."
Q AND A
Talk a little about your team's defensive play.
"They is something we talk about, something we focus on. It's something that is a part of our basketball team. I think we had 10 steals at halftime and that was the difference in the game. Our ability to not only get stops but to get stops, steals and score in transition was very good. When we are in transition, we are pretty good because we will have five guys who are very skilled on the floor most of the time. I've said many times I wouldn't want to get the basketball and try to get open against Winsome Frazier. He is in every passing lane. He is always getting deflections."
Was this the best defensive game your team has played this year? [Tulane was held to 29.7% shooting from the field (19-64).-Gene]
"There have been spots in some games where we have played well when our backs were to the wall. What I was pleased with was the way we started the game and the way we came out in the second half. I though our kids came out in the second half and played with great energy. Even though we didn't stretch out the lead, I thought we played with great energy."
Talk about Winsome Frazier's injury.
"He first told me it was his knee and that was the last thing I wanted to hear. It was his thigh instead. A young man stepped out on that ball screen and kneed him. He is fine."
Compare this year's team to last year's team.
"It is different. Last year we were experienced, we had been through the wars and had won championships. I knew more about their strengths and weaknesses. This year's team is still new and we are young. We are still trying to find out things about this team. We are still trying to find out identity. You see a guy like Gary Ervin and never know what to expect. Some's going to be good, some's going to be bad. But I see a little more good coming each time. We are still learning things Lawrence can do. We are convinced that he can really rebound the basketball. I think a young man that keeps taking steps forward is Marcus Campbell. His effort level has gotten better. Those are things we have to continue to build to make this team better."
Talk about the play of senior guard Timmy Bowers.
"I wouldn't trade him for any other guard. He does everything well. He shoots it, he passes it, he handles it. He can beat you off the shot, he can beat you off the dribble. He is a very good athlete. The most important thing he brings is he brings the same mentality to every game, to every possession. He doesn't take days off. When you can get your best player to play with that energy and focus, it is contagious. He is just a special player."
How well has he adjusted to playing so much point guard?
"I would say pretty well. We didn't have to play him there a lot last year because we had (Derrick Zimmerman). But I thought he was good at seeing things and making things happen, I thought he was good last year. This year you are seeing that."
Do you feel your team is ready for SEC play?
"We have another tough road game left to play. We are sure not going to overlook them. Like I always say the next game is the most important game. It is never easy to go on the road. Not many SEC teams go into (Little Rock), so we will be their biggest home game of the year. I would anticipate that we have a lot of people over there, so maybe we can have a great turnout in Little Rock. I know it means a lot to our basketball team.
"Make sure you print how much we appreciate our fans coming to New Orleans to watch our team. When we ran out of the tunnel and the starting lineup and hear the roar of the fans, it does something to your team and your confidence. There was no question today when you introduced the two teams, there was no question who was the home team."
You had 4 games in 7 days and then 3 games in 3 weeks. Would you like a more balanced schedule?
"With the NCAA not letting you start playing until November 21st and out final (exams) week, it is tough, but you have to get the games in. There is no question I didn't like those six games so quick, but we survived them. But there is no question that we will like getting back to playing a Wednesday-Saturday schedule because you know you can better prepare and rest."
Talk about Branden Vincent's play.
"When you look at Branden Vincent's stats, you see that he does all the little things. He had 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks, 5 points and he defends every possession. It is very important to have a young man who just doesn't play that role but also accepts that role."
Tulane coach Shawn Finney.
On getting down early...
"I think it was the physical play (that got us down) especially early. They had 11 steals by the half, which was the difference, and they were really able to dominate the game. They put on a lot of pressure and had a lot of transition offense. They scored 30 points off our turnovers. Between this game and our LSU game, we have to add strength and handle the pressure."
On Mississippi State's overall play...
"I've been here four years and we've played Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech, Florida and Oklahoma, (Mississippi State) is definitely one of the two best teams I've ever seen, no doubt about it. They have weapons, good inside and outside play, guys that can shoot and they play good defense. They're going to be very good when they get into SEC play."
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. The URL for Gene's Page is http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.