Time for a dynamic, high-usage, freshman scorer to strut her stuff on the big stage. No, this is not the intro to the Ohio State capsule.
Who? The Bulldogs of Mississippi State.
What? The name either comes from a style of play or a mock funeral after beating Ole Miss. I like the second one better. Bully is the name of both the live bulldog and the costumed mascot.
Where? Starkville, Mississippi, supposedly the birthplace of tee ball.
When? March 20th, in Durham, North Carolina.
Why? Sweet, sweet RPI.
How? They were an at-large selection.
Surprise? Predicted to finish eighth in the conference, they rose to third, four games behind South Carolina and Tennessee.
Record: 26-6 (11-5 SEC)
Good wins: Texas A&M. That preseason WNIT title is pretty nice too.
Bad losses: At Vanderbilt. Thought that is a singularly uninspiring out of conference schedule.
Who’s in charge around here? Vic Schafer, since 2012; he was Gary Blair’s defensive guru at Texas A&M.
Extra, Extra! The Clarion-Ledger.
The player to watch going into the season was senior center Martha Alwal, and she has been solid down low, at just under 10 points per game and 6.8 rebounds.
But the player to watch coming into the tournament is undoubtedly fearless and fantastically named freshman forward Victoria Vivians, averaging 15.1 points from all over the floor.
There’s the other side of the coin for Mississippi State, too: Vic Schafer is known as the Minister of Defense, and his Bulldogs have held their opponents to 57.7 points per game. (On the other hand, their numbers in conference play are markedly worse than out of conference, and it does take talent to have an 82 SOS in the SEC.) Can Mississippi State show what they have against solid out-of-conference competition?