Talk about the upcoming NCAA Tournament.
"We are just going to go out and play our game. It's tough to beat any team in the NCAA Tournament because it is one and done and everybody is playing with everything that they have."
How much will the Butler game from last year's NCAA Tournament factor into this year's tournament?
"We know what the small teams in smaller conferences are capable of. In order to get into the NCAA Tournament, you have to be a good team."
Talk about having that extra day of rest due to not starting until Friday.
"That's good because it allows you to get a feel for the tournament and see what is going on."
How valuable was it to get that NCAA Tournament experience last year even though Butler beat you guys?
"To go out and get our feet wet in the tournament last year helped us for this year."
Talk about getting the 2 seed, the highest seed in MSU history.
"One, two, three seed, we are just a team ready to play. It's nice to get a 2 seed, but we know we still have to play the game."
It has to make you feel good seeing that Mississippi State still got a two-seed located in the South even after losing the first game of the SEC Tournament. That shows that the selection committee still had a lot of respect for this team.
"That is true. We earned our respect this past season. We played hard and won a lot of games and we really do appreciate them taking that into consideration when they seeded us."
You will be hearing about Butler a lot prior to this year's tournament.
"We'll use it as motivation every time we hear it. We have some seniors that want to continue playing and want to win more than one game. That don't want to be one and done. They want to go out there and compete for a national championship."
When you saw that possible Sweet 16 matchup with Texas on the projected Sweet 16 by ESPN, did anything go through your mind?
"Yeah, I immediately wanted to go my boy (Kenny Taylor) and congratulate him and talk to him. But we have to take it one game at a time. I'm so happy to be in the position that we are now."
How was your ankle today?
"We did a little conditioning and I was fine as far as running up and down. As far as running straight up and down, I'm find. But as far as cutting and the quick movement, it was a little tougher. I am going to go through a lot of treatment trying to get it ready for the game coming up."
What have the doctors or trainers said about your ankle?
"He said it should be fine but we are going day-to-day."
Have you ever had an ankle injury before?
"No, I've never had one before. I've had injuries before. I had a stress fracture on my left leg but I didn't know it at the time. All I knew was it hurt."
How does it help that you guys are on spring break this first week of the tournament?
"We can just concentrate on basketball and get mentally ready and as focused as we possible can get."
Did you guys get together after the Vanderbilt game and talk about what happened?
"We got together before practice and knew that wasn't us. We watched the film and saw all the breakdowns that we had. A lot of it was mental and that just wasn't us."
Talk about being a two-seed.
"I think we are flying under the radar a little bit. That is a role that we relish."
How important is it to be playing in the south portion of the tournament.
"It means good fan support. It is neat that we are a southern team and we will be playing in the south. It's everything that you could ask for."
It looks like the selection committee gave your team a lot of respect by giving you a number two-seed even though you lost out in your first game in the SEC Tournament.
"I think it shows that they looked at our record, 25-3, undefeated on the road. We've proven we can play tough competition on the road. Usually, the teams that are most successful in the NCAA Tournament are the junior and senior-laden teams, the teams with experience and maturity. That is exactly what we are."
Do you know much about Monmouth?
"I know they are a very good team. If they weren't a very good team they wouldn't be in the field of 65. They wouldn't have won their conference championship. We are going to take them very seriously. Their university name is going to be on my mirror and above my bed all week long."
How are you going to be able to not look ahead to the next game?
"I think we have learned our lesson about advancing. We are just going to worry about Monmouth right now. When that games is over with, and, hopefully, after a victory, we are going to sit down and focus on the next team. But, we have learned you have to be completely zeroed in, completely in the moment and be ready to seize the moment."
What were you exact thoughts when you saw MSU's name appear on the tv as a number two-seed?
"I was excited and thought it was something that we deserved. I also thought that we had a good shot at number one-seed, but we didn't do what we needed to do to get a number one-seed. So, I think it puts a little bit of a chip on our shoulder."
Have you guys forgotten about the Vanderbilt loss and now are thinking about the NCAA Tournament?
"We have forgotten about the Vanderbilt loss but we haven't forgotten about the Vanderbilt lesson. It was pretty evident on film today what we didn't do in the Vanderbilt game, which was defend and rebound. On defense and rebounding, we just didn't have the same toughness that we had all year long. That is a good lesson to be taught right before this tournament."
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.