Hess did not call any State home games this year, though he did work the MSU-Syracuse game in the Coaches Vs. Cancer tournament. What few fans knew was that last March, in State's final home game of 2004, Hess was on the crew for the Auburn game. Why? Because Stansbury specifically asked for him, so the home crowd could boo Hess. If the ref took offense, he showed none this time around.
*Give Duke's cheering crew credit for cleverness. Hearing Stansbury's pleas that North Carolina fans stick around for game-two and cheer for Mississippi State, the Blue Devil mascot wore a strip of tape on his ‘forehead' reading ‘Fans For Hire 1-800-UNC.'
*After the last game of the year, Stansbury was asked about the status of freshman center Walter Sharpe. The rookie did not report for last week's practices and was not brought on the NCAA trip. All Stansbury would say was "We don't know," about when he would talk with Sharpe and what the chances of the Birmingham native being back on the roster next season. "Don't know," he repeated.
Freshman Charles Rhodes played six minutes in the second half, making a shot in the first possession he was on the court but not taking another shot. He did get two rebounds.
*Point guard Gary Ervin, asked about next season, spoke optimistically of taking on a leadership role in 2005-06. "This is just motivation, you basically start tomorrow and get in the gym and play hard so you make sure nothing will happen to you like that when you're a senior."
At the same time there has been plenty of speculation around the program that Ervin is not happy after his first year as the starter, and might be considering a transfer come summer. Stansbury did say point guard play was a weak point often this year, but Ervin is the only true quarterback on the roster and his experience would be difficult to replace.
And all the while, State watches which way high school superstar and November signee Monta Ellis is leaning in terms of coming to college or turning professional. In postgame Stansbury expressed optimism that the 6-3, 175-pound Jackson-Lanier sharpshooter will be in a Bulldog uniform next fall. But, he added, nobody will know for sure until June.
*By finishing 23-11, the 2005 Bulldogs scored the sixth-most wins in the program's 93 years.
*Lawrence Roberts' last MSU game typified his tough senior season. He had to take a lot of shots and draw a lot of fouls to get a final ‘double-double' and score in double-figures for the 100th time in his four college seasons (two at Baylor). Roberts scored in double-figures in all four of his NCAA games, and he tallied 58 double-doubles out of 118 career games.
In the final accounting, Roberts collected 1,942 points and 1,172 rebounds for four seasons. If all his college numbers are counted as MSU stats, Roberts would have just passed Jim Ashmore (1,918, 1954-57) for third in MSU career scoring and now stand second only to Bailey Howell (1,277, 1957-59) in rebounds. For his two years at State, Roberts averaged 16.90 points, edging out Jerry Graves (16.82) for sixth place on the MSU career scoring list. His 337 rebounds this season was the fifth-best board year ever for a Bulldog (Howell has three of the better seasons).
*Shane Power missed his only trey-try against Duke, but still set the MSU career record for accuracy at the arc at 41.7%, edging Marcus Bullard's 40.7% and Darryl Wilson at 40.0%.
*Winsome Frazier netted 160 treys in his four seasons, finishing sixth on the career charge and just one behind Bart Hyche. Frazier also grabbed three steals in the finale and aned with 147 ranking sixth all-time.
*Campbell had 87 career blocked shots, ranking seventh in MSU history and two behind Derrick Zimmerman.
*Seniors Winsome Frazier and Marcus Campbell became the first Bulldogs to participate in four NCAA Tournaments. Both got minutes as freshmen at Austin in 2002; again as backups in 2003 at Birmingham; and Frazier started at Orlando last year with Campbell subbing-in. No Bulldog has ever started in more than two NCAA tourney years, and only ten have that many. They are: Erick Dampier, Daryl Wilson (1995, '96), Derrick Zimmerman, Mario Austin, Michal Ignerski (2002, '03), Ontario Harper (2003, '05), Timmy Bowers (2003, '04), and Frazier, Lawrence Roberts, Shane Power (2004, '05). *Also, Frazier and Campbell shared the school-record for career victories (by their varsity teams) at 93. Dampier and Wilson own the distinction of having the most NCAA victories yet by Bulldogs, with six over two seasons.
*In their last game of the year the Bulldogs lost the battle of the boards by four. Still State out-rebounded the opposition 28 of 34 times and the final margin of +8.7 set a school record.
*The Bulldogs came up short in trying to give Rick Stansbury his 150th career victory. Now in his seventh year in charge, Stansbury has a 149-74 overall record. Five of his teams have won 20 or more games, including these past four. Richard Williams won 191 games in a dozen seasons, and Babe McCarthy scored 169 wins in ten years.
*Six of the seven Stansbury squads have played in a postseason tournament, either the NCAAs (2002-03-04-05) or the NIT (1999, 2001). Half of the eight NCAA bids Mississippi State has received since the championship tournament began in 1939 have come in the past seven years, with a 3-4 record in NCAA play. Counting SEC Tournament and NIT games Stansbury is 13-12 in all postseason competition. *In the eight NCAA trips, Mississippi State is 10-8. The first win came in 1963 in consolation play, something the tournament did away with after 1981. Ignoring that consolation win, State now is 4-3 in all first-round games; 2-3 in second rounds; 2-1 in third rounds; 1-0 in the fourth, and 0-1 in national semifinals. Only in '63 did State play in a pre-64 team tournament. *Though Mississippi State was the lone SEC school competing in Charlotte, the league office was well-represented by assistant commissioner Mark Womack, supervisor of basketball officials John Guthrie, and basketball media relations director Dwayne Peevey, who was working with CBS for the weekend. Also, former Diamond Girl and MSU alumnae Teri Brinkman was on the tournament operations staff. She is a media relations director at Furman. *Only overall league champion Kentucky remains from the Eastern Division after Florida went down Sunday. The Wildcats won the SEC's last national title, in 1998, while the Gators were the last to represent the league in the Final Four in 2000. Mississippi State in 1996 was the last Western Division club to reach the Final Four.
*With the win, Duke Coach Mike Kzryzewski won his 66th NCAA Tournament game, breaking the record held by former North Carolina coach Dean Smith.