Howland set for first Bama battle at MSU

Ben Howland will take on Alabama for the first time as head coach at Mississippi State on Tuesday. Howland shared his thoughts on the Crimson Tide, gave health updates on Gavin Ware and I.J. Ready and spoke on the progress of his freshmen during his weekly press conference.

On switching back to zone in win against Missouri…
“It really helped us. I sat here and told you I’d never play another possession of it but yet we’re down to eight guys and size is a disadvantage, and they weren’t a good shooting team. They were only shooting 26 percent from three, so I felt it was just prudent to at least try it. We didn’t work on it at all, we didn’t practice it once. We just did it and they were 2-for-25, 8 percent from three, so it was probably the difference in the game.”

On Travis Daniels’ performance versus Missouri…
“It was a huge game for Travis. He worked really hard in practice and I think that he did a good job for us shooting the ball from the perimeter, did a good job taking a big charge in that game, and a good job defensively. I was really happy for him to get back and to have a real positive game.”

On Quinndary Weatherspoon and Malik Newman improving as season goes on…
“It’s been an ongoing process that continues to happen. I think they both improving. Typical of freshmen, they’re getting more comfortable playing at this level against this level of competition night-in, night-out, the amount of preparation that goes into game, and how people are trying to game-plan for them et cetera, et cetera. They’re just getting more comfortable. It’s still a battle every night but they have both showed huge signs of improvement, and I think Aric [Holman] has too.”

On team’s performance going into Tuesday’s game with Alabama…
“We’ve been right there in every game, even though our record doesn’t indicate that we’re a little better than our record, at least in my mind. But it was good to get over the hump in our last game and we have to try to do it again.”

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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