"As I told my kids, there is no revenge factor at this time of year. I don't think you can make anything out of it because we are different teams now, starting different people. Their players are playing at a different level and we are, too. We have played them twice over the last two years. Whether that is bad or good, I don't know, although we beat them both times. That is probably a negative (for us)."
In the game against you earlier in the year, Xavier out-rebounded your team.
"They are a great rebounding team. They play very physical. Anthony Myles is big. Sato, a small forward, averaged 8 rebounds per game. There hasn't been a small forward that we have played against that rebounds and is as athletic as he is."
Timmy Bowers and Winsome Frazier didn't shoot well against Monmouth. Do they need to shoot the ball better against Xavier if you want to win?
"There is no question. It is uncharacteristic for both to be off because they have been so consistent. We really need both of them to step up to beat Xavier."
Your team likes up-tempo games. Xavier, under Thad Matta, is 29-0 when they score 80 or more points.
"We both like to get it up and down the court. They are one of the best teams in the country right now. I don't know who in the country is playing better than them right now. When you have St. Joe down by 38 points and wind up beating them by 20 points, that tells you what they are capable of. They have won 14 of their last 15 basketball games."
Talk about the show that Lionel Chalmers (25 pts) and Romain Sato (24 pts) put on yesterday against Louisville.
"It's not just yesterday. That's how they have been playing in all of their games recently. That's why they have won 14 of their last 15. Sato was a first-team All-American candidate and is playing like one. Chalmers, another senior, is about as crafty with the ball in his hands as anyone we have played all year long because he can play off the dribble and shoot the three. Those two seniors are playing like it's the last game of their last year."
You may need to put some body armor on Lawrence Roberts tomorrow because he has been injured the last two games.
"He'll be alright. It was good last night that we were able to get him some extended minutes. We played him 24 minutes because I thought he needed that game conditioning. I thought he responded well after not doing anything for a week."
Your first game against Xavier Marcus Campbell had 16 points in 20 minutes. At that time he was starting for you. Now, he comes in off the bench. Since they didn't seem to have an answer for him that first game, will you reconsider how much you use him for this game?
"I don't know if it was that they didn't have an answer for him or that he just had one of his better games. We got him a lot in transition. He got a lot of easy baskets in transition. They are a different team, now. And we are a different team. Sato, in the first game, had 7 points. And he was struggling coming into that game."
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 email@example.com.