Coach Rick Stansbury's 2001-02 State squad previously matched the 11-0 start first established by coach Babe McCarthy's 1957-58 MSU club en route to setting a new all-time, single-season school record with 27 wins two years ago. That 2001-02 Bulldog team achieved a season-best No. 17 national AP ranking after claiming the school's second SEC Tournament championship.
Last year en route to posting a second straight 20-win season at 21-10, Mississippi State was ranked in the AP Top 25 virtually the entire season, with the exception of the March 10 poll following late-season league road losses to Arkansas and Tennessee. A year ago after knocking off nationally ranked Xavier and Oklahoma in December, the Bulldogs rose to as high as No. 7 nationally in the AP's Jan. 6 poll. That rating marked MSU's highest ranking in The Associated Press wire service poll since McCarthy's 1962-63 State squad finished sixth in the season-ending AP poll and competed in the school's first-ever NCAA Tournament.