Following home preseason exhibition contests against BWB of California and the Harlem Globetrotters on Nov. 9 and 14, respectively, this year's State squad opens its 91st season of collegiate competition with a six-game homestand that will cover the first two weeks of the upcoming campaign. Reigning postseason tournament entries Louisiana-Lafayette and McNeese State - MSU's first-round NCAA Tournament opponent this past March - come to Starkville on Nov. 23 and 25, respectively, followed by Jacksonville (Nov. 30), Alabama A&M (Dec. 2), in-state foe Jackson State (Dec. 4) and Louisiana Tech (Dec. 7).
Following the team's season-opening, six-game homestand, the Bulldogs will head to New York's Madison Square Garden to face preseason ranked Xavier University on Dec. 14. After a Dec. 18 contest against Georgia State at Jackson's Mississippi Coliseum, Mississippi State will receive another stern test by taking on reigning NCAA Final Four participant Oklahoma, Dec. 28, at the Nokia Sugar Bowl Basketball Classic in New Orleans. Slated for national television (FOX Sports Net) at the New Orleans Arena, the MSU-OU contest will be followed by LSU-Tulane as part of the Sugar Bowl's single-day college basketball doubleheader event.
Mississippi State will close out the 2002 calendar year and ring in the new year in the neighboring state of Alabama by playing road contests at South Alabama (Dec. 30 in Mobile) and UAB (Jan. 2 in Birmingham) to conclude regular-season, non-conference competition.
The Bulldogs' challenging 16-game SEC schedule begins with a nationally televised (ESPN) Tuesday home meeting versus defending SEC East co-champion Florida on Jan. 7. Following road outings against SEC West rivals LSU (Jan. 11) and Alabama (Jan. 15), MSU welcomes reigning NIT runner-up South Carolina and LSU to Humphrey Coliseum on Jan. 22 and 25, respectively. A Jan. 29 road encounter versus rival Mississippi will close out the month of January.
The month of February offers five television appearances for MSU, including match-ups against Georgia (Feb. 1 at Athens), Arkansas (Feb. 8 in Starkville) and Mississippi (Feb. 15 in Starkville) all set to be aired as part of the league's SEC-TV regional package. The Bulldogs will also be featured on CBS Sports when they travel to Lexington, Ky., to take on perennial powerhouse Kentucky on Feb. 23 in a Sunday afternoon showdown to be televised nationally from UK's famed Rupp Arena. State will conclude its February slate of action by playing host to defending SEC Champion Alabama on Feb. 26 in a key divisional contest set to be televised by Jefferson-Pilot Sports.
Mississippi State's March activity begins with road outings versus both Arkansas and Tennessee on the 1st and 5th, respectively, while the team's 2002-03 regular-season schedule concludes at home with a March 8 Saturday encounter against Auburn. With the Bulldogs looking to defend their SEC Tournament championship, this year's SEC Men's Basketball Tournament will take place March 13-16 at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans - also the site of the 2003 NCAA Final Four.
2002-03 MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY MEN'S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE:
Nov. 9 - BWB OF CALIFORNIA (EXH.)
Nov. 14 - HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS (EXH.)
Nov. 23 - LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE
Nov. 25 - McNEESE STATE
Nov. 30 - JACKSONVILLE
Dec. 2 - ALABAMA A&M
Dec. 4 - JACKSON STATE
Dec. 7 - LOUISIANA TECH
Dec. 14 - Xavier (@ Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
Dec. 18 - Georgia State (@ Jackson, MS)
Dec. 28 - Oklahoma (Nokia Sugar Bowl Basketball Classic @ New Orleans, LA)
Dec. 30 - at South Alabama
Jan. 2 - at UAB
Jan. 7 - FLORIDA
Jan. 11 - at LSU
Jan. 15 - at Alabama
Jan. 22 - SOUTH CAROLINA
Jan. 25 - LSU
Jan. 29 - at Mississippi
Feb. 1 - at Georgia
Feb. 5 - VANDERBILT
Feb. 8 - ARKANSAS
Feb. 15 - MISSISSIPPI
Feb. 19 - at Auburn
Feb. 23 - at Kentucky
Feb. 26 - ALABAMA
Mar. 1 - at Arkansas
Mar. 5 - at Tennessee
Mar. 8 - AUBURN
Mar. 13-16 - at SEC Tournament (@ Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, LA)