The football team showed signs of life Saturday against Alabama. Was it due to the fact that a coach Sherrill team always plays well against his alma mater or was it because this team is truly starting to find itself?
As I stated in a Monday Morning Coffee Break a few weeks ago, coach Sherrill, even during his worse seasons, always seems to rally his troops late in the season. Maybe, that is what we are seeing.
With a Tennessee team that is not as strong as Tennessee teams of the past coming to Starkville this weekend, followed by an up and down Arkansas team and an Ole Miss team that continues to slide deeper into their annual nosedive at the end of the season, MSU has a chance to make a little late-season noise.
Freshman running back Jerious Norwood suffered an ankle injury during the game. His status for this week's Tennessee game won't be known until later in the week.
Offensive lineman Brad Weathers will very likely be able to play this weekend as will fullback Justin Griffith. Both missed the Alabama game. Freshman offensive lineman Johnny Wadley played in Weathers' place this past weekend and played well, according to offensive coordinator Sparky Woods.
Game time for Tennessee....
Jefferson Pilot will broadcast this weekend's game with Tennessee. Game time is set for 11:30 a.m.
While the football team is looking for anything positive, the basketball team showed that they can play very, very well even without the services of their preseason player of the year candidate Mario Austin who had to sit out the first exhibition game due to an unresolved issue.
Also not playing were newcomer Brandon Vincent who broke two teeth during Friday's practice and redshirt freshman center Wesley Morgan who had knee surgery and will be out for about a month.
After leading the BWBA by 6 at halftime, the Bullies use fastbreaks and defense to outscore BWBA 48-30 in the second half to defeat the BWBA team 80-56.
The Bulldogs saw six players score in double figures, including Marcus Campbell with 14. Following him were Timmy Bowers with 13, Michal Ignerski, Derrick Zimmerman and Winsome Frazier with 11 a piece and Ontario Harper with 10.
The leading rebounder was Ignerski with 11 and Campbell with 10.
Harlem Globetrotters coming to town....
While the BWBA team was a team who gave the Bulldogs a decent challenge, the next test will be the most powerful team the Bulldogs have ever faced in preseason, the Harlem Globetrotters.
With an all-time record of 20,939 and 336 and a record of 163-68 against college teams, the Globetrotters aren't coming to Starkville, Mississippi this Thursday night at 7 p.m. just to entertain the fans. There's no Meadowlark or Curly to throw fake ice in the stands or to yell out, "it's the other leg" This is a team that comes to win first and entertain second.
With four former NBA starters on their team, they will be a huge test for this very talented Bulldog team, especially if Austin and the injured Brandon Vincent aren't able to play.
A former first round draft pick of Chicago, the 7-0, 250-pound Olden Polynice appeared in more than 1,000 NBA games. He played in his last NBA game during the 2000-2001 season when he appeared in 81 of 82 games for Utah.
Former Arkansas standout Todd Day (6-7,200), a veteran of 9 NBA seasons, Cedric Ceballos (6-7, 200), a 14 NBA season veteran, and Reggie Jordan (6-4, 195), a veteran of 186 NBA games, round out the former NBA players who currently grace the Globetrotter roster.
One former MSU Bulldog, Tyrus Boswell, was expected to be on the team but instead is touring with another Globetrotter team out west.
With victories over Purdue and St. John's during their current tour, the Globetrotters, who have played in front of more than 120 million fans in 117 countries during their 76-year history, have a record of 18-3 against college teams over the last 4 years. Included in their losses was a 72-68 setback to eventual national champions Michigan State during the 2000 season.
Now's MSU's time to face the test of the Harlem Globetrotters.
Mario Austin's status in limbo....
To the surprise of everybody, including yours truly, Mario Austin did not play during the Saturday night exhibition against BWBA.
According to coach Rich Stansbury, during his postgame press conference, Austin did not play due to an "issue". Coach Stansbury did not elaborate on what the issue was but did say Austin will not play until it is resolved. The issue does not involve MSU or the NCAA. Although neither MSU or myself knows what the future holds, my sources seem to be confident that Austin should be back playing on the court for the Bulldogs.
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Well, that wraps up this week's edition of the Monday Morning Bulldog Coffee Break.
Have a great Bulldog week!
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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.