Howland faces Rebels for first time

Head coach Ben Howland will be introduced to the Mississippi State-Ole Miss rivalry on Saturday. Howland spoke about the upcoming game against the Rebels and his team’s struggles down the stretch in five conference games so far.

Opening Statement…
“Big game, which is the understatement of the year. We are excited about the opportunity. They have some key guys that are pretty banged up. How that effects their playing or not playing, they are still going to be tough to beat. They are a very good team, very well coached. We are ready to play our very best tomorrow to come out successful.”

On Sebastian Saiz being out…
“He’s a really good player. He is the second leading scorer. I am really impressed with him from what I’ve watched on film. I’m pretty sure he’ll be back. It is very unfortunate for any player to have an injury. We have had Craig Sword dealing with a shoulder where he couldn’t practice yesterday and he’ll hopefully practice today. So everyone is going through it, especially at this time of year. What they have done without him in the lineup is they’ve played a lot more zone in the last game against South Carolina and honestly they had a great opportunity to win. They were up 10 with four minutes to go and South Carolina came back and won in overtime. With him out, it’s more work for them to do offensively, but they can get the ball to Marcanvis (Hymon) down low and some other guys down low. He’s their key low post.”

On Stefan Moody…
“Stefan (Moody) is a fantastic player. He is the leading scorer in the league. Incredible athlete combined with skill. He’s a really great competitor. I coached against Isaiah Thomas and Nate Robinson both at the University of Washington when I was out west. He reminds me of both of those guys. He has an unbelievable body, which could hurt you in so many ways scoring or shooting deep threes from 30 feet. His range is amazing and also he’s a good passer and a great defender.”

On Andy Kennedy…
“I’ve known Andy because he worked for Bob Huggins (at Cincinnati). He’s done a great job at Ole Miss. I’ve never coached against him before, but he’s doing a great job with the program. He’s had a lot of success. He does a really fine job.”

On first time coaching against Ole Miss…
“It’s the biggest game of the year for Mississippi State as it is for Ole Miss every year in terms of the rivalry. I’ve been in rivalries before and this one is very special. People here at Mississippi State care more about beating Ole Miss than they do about any other game of the year.”

I have covered Mississippi State in some capacity since 2004 and joined the Daily Journal staff in 2013. I enjoy short walks on the beach, performing concerts in my car and watching professional wrestling.

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