Proud of his team's response against LSU after poor game against Alabama.
"I've very proud of my basketball team, not just because of the win but because of the way they responded. That was more us tonight. Under stress and difficult situations is when you really find out what you are made of. We all know we had a very difficult game Saturday. For our kids to get back up and play with the energy and effort they played with tonight, that deserve all the credit."
His team's play against LSU.
"That is a very good LSU basketball team. I thought we, defensively, took them out of almost everything they wanted to do. It was a tremendous team effort. I thought I got great play from my bench. That is something that I have to start doing and something this team has to have. I thought we got great minutes from (Marcus) Campbell and Gary Ervin tonight. When those two men can play some minutes, that allows the other people to be more productive, because I don't have to play them quite so many minutes."
Did you have any doubts about whether your team would respond well after the Alabama loss?
"I had no questions about it. I know these kids; I know what they are made of. As much as we hurt, they hurt more than we did. It was all business with them. I didn't have to say one thing. They changed the entire team's demeanor. They knew what happened."
Do you have any idea why your team shot the ball so well this game after shooting so poorly against Alabama
"That is part of human nature, part of the mentality of young men. I will say this about this team: It is not about one game, the season is made up of 27 games. It is about which team can play with the most focus and energy night in and night out. Those teams will win championships."
How important was it to go ahead and wrap up the SEC Western Division title with this win tonight?
"The important thing was to get another win against LSU. LSU was the only team that had a chance to catch us. And that would have been difficult even if they had won this game because they would have had to win out. Tonight, we took any doubt about that out. To have the Western Division championship wrapped up with three games to go is pretty huge. But, that is not what our team set out to do. Our guys are happy with this win, but we didn't cut any nets down. We are not celebrating in the locker room. We have three more games left in this (regular) season and we have some other goals we want to accomplish. We are not finished."
Were you determined to give Marcus Campbell more minutes or were you going to wait and see how he did during the game?
"No, I was going to change my approach with him and approach it as if he was being productive because he is resting my starters. That was going to be his productivity. If he can also be productive (offensively and defensively), then I get the best of both worlds. Tonight, he was both."
Did you want to give Marcus more minutes against Alabama?
"It is something that I wanted to do (against Alabama), but we got behind so quick at the start of the second half it was difficult to do. Then, you have to go with guys that you have depended on and trusted. You can't really afford to have a situation where you go three or four possessions where you don't know what you are going to get."
Do you feel Marcus was stronger going to the basket this game?
"We visited about that. He was going to play tonight, there was no question about that. So, there was no reason for him to sit on the bench and not be ready to come into the game. He really had a great approach and really went after the rebounds. Even though he only got two, he had his hands on a bunch of them. He also scored around the hole and that was big, too."
Do you feel you have to use your bench more?
"I have got to get them in the games more. I've got to allow them to play through a few more mistakes. But my thing with guys coming off the bench is even though they might not add to the game, I don't want them to take away from the game."
Did you do anything different on (Jaime) Lloreda in this game?
"The only thing we did differently in the first game is play zone the entire game. This game we played man until we got the big lead with 6 or 7 minutes to go. I then went zone to slow the game down."
Your transition game was good tonight.
"I thought we were able to hurt them in transition not because we scored layups, but because we got some shots early because some people were running. I thought we got to their legs some because they got tired. That was the difference in us getting some easy baskets."
Do you feel your depth has been a problem this season?
"The way I look at that is we have played 24 games and are 22 and 2. So, I don't think our depth has been too much of a problem. But I do think we can make this team better by getting some more play from our bench. That is what we are trying to do now. I understand that late in the year there are going to be some games you have to play back to back. We have to have more of a bench in those games. We have to get those guys even more ready than they have been."
You are perfect on the road, but Vanderbilt is a different set of circumstances.
"Like all road games, none of them are easy. It is not always playing on the road that makes it so difficult, is't that team you are playing on the road. While Vanderbilt has a difficult atmosphere and the court is set up different, the most important thing is Vanderbilt has a very good basketball team. They are very good but our kids have been pretty good on the road, so far."
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.