Mississippi State players (Timmy Bowers, Branden Vincent, Lawrence Roberts, Shane Power and Winsome Frazier) talk about the upcoming Southeastern Conference Tournament."> Mississippi State players (Timmy Bowers, Branden Vincent, Lawrence Roberts, Shane Power and Winsome Frazier) talk about the upcoming Southeastern Conference Tournament.">

MSU players talk about SEC Tournament

<img src="http://www.genespage.com/images/01players/basketball/brandenvincent-mug.jpg" align="left"> Mississippi State players (Timmy Bowers, Branden Vincent, Lawrence Roberts, Shane Power and Winsome Frazier) talk about the upcoming Southeastern Conference Tournament.

Talk about getting an extra day of rest after playing 44 minutes in a game last Saturday.
Timmy Bowers - "I think it will help us out a lot, especially after playing in some tough games like we have been playing in lately."

How important is it to not to have to play on opening day?
Timmy Bowers - "I think it is big for us for the simple fact that other teams are having to play the other day. They will be a little worn out and we will come in fresh. Obviously, if you make it to the championship game, that is three days instead of four days."

How much would you like to see you guys play Kentucky in the championship game?
Timmy Bowers - "Kentucky is one of two teams that have beaten us this year, so you obviously want to play them again just because you want to see what you can do against them in another game. Obviously, we would like for it to happen, but that is something that we are not in control of. They will have to win and we will have to win for us to meet up."

Branden Vincent - "I would love the chance to play Kentucky. It will be a great, emotional game. That is the type team they are comparing us to going into the NCAA Tournament, whether we are better than them or not."

Shane Power - "I think you picture it in your mind, but we really are focused on one game at a time. If you look ahead at all at this point of the season, you are going to get beat. We saw what Alabama could do to us. We have been in tough games all year long. Ole Miss, the first game, had us down 15 at half. The teams are too good to look ahead right now. We will take it one game at a time."

Talk about some of the things you heard that Kentucky players have said about you guys winning the SEC championship.
Branden Vincent - "It was like they should have won the SEC championship this year. They shouldn't have lost some of the games that they lost. They felt like we cheated them by winning it. We're like they don't think we are as good as them. They don't think we can compete against them."

You know the league pretty good now. What is the likelihood that that will happen?
Timmy Bowers - "I think the chances are good. They are a good team, we are a good team. They want to win the SEC Tournament just like we want to win the SEC Tournament, but we have to get there first."

There is a lot of talk about NCAA number one seeds. If you were on the committee where would you seed Mississippi State?
Timmy Bowers - "I would definitely seed us number one. I don't know much about it, but I do know that they look at the games you won on the road. To this point, we haven't lost on the road, yet. I think that will be a big key to us getting a number one seed or whatever seed we get."

When you watch other teams throughout the country, do you wonder how you would match up with them?
Winsome Frazier - "We try to watch other teams to see where we stand and, if we do meet up, what we have to do. When you look at it, it doesn't matter who you play because eventually you are going to have to play somebody in the top 3 or top 5. I wouldn't mind playing a team that I haven't played before. Who wouldn't mind playing Duke and showing what we can do against top 10 teams."

What are your thoughts about being a number 1 seed or a number 2 seed.
Winsome Frazier - "It doesn't really matter to me because a one or two seed is good for me. We would like to be number one, but it's not up to us to pick them."

Shane Power - "If they give us a number 1 seed, it is to our advantage because the road is going to be a little easier. If they give us a number 2 seed, it will probably make us a little mad and the fire will probably start burning a little bit deeper."

After a comeback like you had Saturday, do you think this team is capable of anything?
Winsome Frazier - "We are capable of everything. We've been down like that before. We were down to Kentucky the same way. We huddled up and told each other that we had to get something going."

There are things that define a ballclub. Santa Clara, even though not a great team, was a ballgame where you came back. You came back against Ole Miss when you were down by 10 late. You came back against Kentucky after being down by 18 in the first half. Then, of course, South Carolina and Alabama. Are those the games that define your ballclub?
Timmy Bowers - "I think you could say that. It just goes to show you what type of team that we have. We have guys out there who are not going to give up. We can give down, like we did against Alabama and probably nobody thought that we were going to win that game. Down 18 points and they were making all of their shots. But we told each other to go out and give total effort and leave everything on the court. As long as you do that, then you can live with yourself after the game, win or lose."

Since you have come back so often, do you wonder if the other teams are starting to think about that when they play you?
Timmy Bowers - "I think they know. I definitely think they know, them and their coaches, especially since the coaches are the ones that watch the film. They probably tell their players if you get them down, they are going to keep fighting. That is the type of ball we like to play. Obviously, we don't like to get down by a lot of points at halftime or at any point in the game, but it happens sometimes. But, when it happens, you have to respond."

Coach Stansbury will probably win SEC Coach of Year. You've played for Coach Stansbury for 4 years. Where have you seen improvements in his coaching?
Timmy Bowers - "I definitely think he is deserving of Coach of the Year and is coach of the year in everybody eyes. He's just like a player, as you gain experience and get older you learn more. That's the biggest thing: He has gotten wiser."

Talk about your possible matchup with either Vanderbilt or Ole Miss.
Timmy Bowers - "We've played Ole Miss twice, so we obviously know how to play them. We know it will be a tough, grit-it-out game. We know Vanderbilt is a good team, but the thing about them is it will be away from home. They shoot the ball really well at home and that played a big key in that game at Nashville. But, the (SEC Tournament) is on a neutral game. Either way, we will be ready to play because we want to win the SEC Tournament."

Shane Power - "Ole Miss is a very hard-playing team. Justin Reed and Aaron Harper are playing to prolong their season. They want either an NCAA bid or an NIT bid, so they will come out strong. Vanderbilt is a very smart team, a very hard team to play against. Most likely, they have the runner-up player of the year in Matt Freije, so they have a lot of firepower. Either way, we will be ready for whoever comes out."

The move you made on the Alabama free throw. Was that something you did intentional or something that just happened?
Timmy Bowers - "I kind of knew what I was doing, but, at the same time, I wasn't trying to throw him off. Obviously, I wanted to get into the lane so that I could block the shooter out. I think the referee saw me coming up there, so I think it was a good call on his part. If you really wanted to make a free throw, you could have regrouped and stepped back and came back up to the line."

Has something like that ever happened to either one of you?
Timmy Bowers - "I don't ever remember a time when somebody has done that, but there's no telling."

Winsome Frazier - "I can't recall it happening to me right now, but it happens. Opponents try to talk to you to try and make you miss a shot. But you have to have that focus."

Has any opposing team's players ever tried to distract you when you are on the free throw line?
Timmy Bowers - "Oh yeah, definitely, all the time. You probably don't see it, but they are always talking to you right there on the line, saying little things, but you just kind of block it out."

What team is the worst at talking to guys on the free throw line, you?
Timmy Bowers - "Probably us. We try to get our say-so in there every now and then, but, like I said, everybody does it, so you can't point out any one team that is the worst."

Talk about playing in the SEC Tournament and what it means to you?
Shane Power - "It is a special appearance for me because I lost my first two Big 12 Tournament my first two years. I am really looking forward to going to Atlanta and, hopefully, staying the entire time."

Lawrence Roberts - "We are going to go in there knowing that we are one of the top teams and we want to take it game by game. Hopefully, the outcome will be us in the finals."

Lawrence, there is a good chance that you will be SEC Player of the Year. What would that mean to you?
Lawrence Roberts - "It would be a great accomplishment, but, right now, I'm just looking at the SEC Tournament. From here on out, one loss and you are done. We are fighting for our lives. Every game is important."

Talk about how things have worked out for you since you transferred to Mississippi State from Baylor?
Lawrence Roberts - "Everything is great, so far. I know that we have a little ways to go. One of my goals was to reach for championships. With the position that we are in, I think we have a great opportunity to do that."

Has it been easier or tougher than you thought it would be?
Lawrence Roberts - "These guys made it a lot easier for me. Having a great group of guys and a great coaching staff around you makes it a lot easier. I don't think it could have been easier. Right now, I am loving it and everything is great."

There is speculation as to where you stand in regard to coming back next year or entering the draft.
Lawrence Roberts - "Like I said before, right now my eyes are focused on our goals as a team as far as the championship. This is all or nothing; one loss and we go home."

How do you keep from looking toward playing Kentucky in the championship game and overlooking one of the other teams?
Branden Vincent - "We have been taking it one game at a time this entire year. That is how we play. We know everybody will come out and play their toughest in the SEC Tournament. We feel we will come out and play as hard as them."

Shane, are you concerned that this club doesn't appear to play that well after having a week off?
Shane Power - "No, I'm not because we are practicing today. We will only have yesterday off. I know the Alabama game taught us all a lesson. We can't get fat and happy. We are taking the mindset that we are the underdogs throughout the SEC Tournament and the NCAA Tournament. All year we have had a chip on our shoulder and we need to continue that."

Why do you think you guys are an underdog?
Shane Power - "All the experts are picking Kentucky to get a number 1 seed. As far as the NCAA's, we have been in the top 5 for awhile now, and we are not hearing as much strong consideration as some of the other teams. They are all picking Kentucky to win the SEC Tournament championship. I think we still are the underdog. We have a chip on our shoulder and we have something to prove."

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 swindoll@genespage.com.

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