Business As Usual

When he came into the season, one of Ben Hansbrough's goals was to help the Mississippi State basketball team make the NCAA Tournament. But he and his teammates saw that goal fall one game short. Now, with their selection as a No. 1 seed in the National Invitation Tournament championship, winning the NIT is what's on their minds.

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"The NIT wasn't what I was trying to play in, but it kind of is where we ended up," said a still disappointed Hansbrough. "I'm not going to sit here and put a smiley face on it because that's not how I feel about the situation. I feel like we had a chance to get into the NCAA Tournament and we just kind of let it slip away."

While he's seen one team goal slip away, he's not ready to see it happen again.

"In the NIT Tournament we have to come ready to play every game like it's our last game," said Hansbrough matter of factly. "I promise you I'll be up for the game. While this wasn't one of my goals, I'm excited about playing."

He's also excited that this Bulldog team, made up mostly of freshmen and sophomores, will be able to build momentum for next season.

"We started playing more together as a team (in the second half of the season)," said Hansbrough. "(And) this obviously will give us a chance to grow because the more games we play together, the more we will play like a team and the more we will learn about each other."

And it will allow him to continue playing his style of basketball.

"I feel like I started working on my game like I know how to," said Hansbrough. "I went into a freshman slump, but rose above it. I started playing aggressive and just playing the way I know how to play."

And because his team was selected a No. 1 seed for the tournament, that means he'll get to showcase that aggressive style of play in front of the Mississippi State fans as many as three more times.

"There is nothing better than playing on your home court," said Hansbrough. "You have the adrenalin going. It's going to be good."

Good enough for three straight home wins and an invitation to the NIT Championship in New York City? He sure hopes so.

"I've neve been (to NYC)," he said. "I look forward to going."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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