Howland talks Commodores

Ben Howland will meet Vanderbilt for the first time in his career Tuesday night. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Ben Howland will meet Vanderbilt for the first time in his career Tuesday night. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Mississippi State’s Ben Howland joined the rest of the league’s coaches on the SEC men’s basketball teleconference on Monday to discuss the Bulldogs recent performances and preview its match-ups this week.

Here is a transcript of Howland’s time on the call…  

Opening statement:

We split last week. We had a great win over Arkansas and then Georgia really manhandled us and did a great job dominating the game at our place on Saturday.

We’ve got an especially difficult challenge ahead of us in Vanderbilt. I watched Vanderbilt on film yesterday and was incredibly impressed with how good they are. They have length inside with two rim protectors in (Luke) Kornet and (Damian) Jones and shooters surrounding them.

Wade Baldwin (IV) is fantastic. He’s a really special player. He gets to the foul line over eight times a game as a guard attacking the rim. He’s super impressive.

I love their shooters. Obviously, (Matthew) Fisher-Davis and Riley LaChance are special shooters and (Jeff) Roberson is playing great. Roberson was dominant in the Texas A&M win.

They’re just super impressive and well coached at both ends of the floor. They are a great defensive team and a very skilled offensive team that can score inside as well as shoot the ball out from the perimeter. They have great balance.

They’re an NCAA Tournament team so we’ve got our hands full tomorrow night against Vanderbilt. I’m looking forward to seeing how our guys play against a team that is so good.

We have to do a better job of attacking the zone than we did Saturday night. I think that will be a key for us as well as trying to guard them inside with their obvious height advantage.”

Where is Tyler Ulis in the conversation for SEC Player of the Year?

Howland: “He’s definitely a player that you have to consider. From my vantage point on that, I always wait until the very end because typically the team that wins the conference, unless it’s someone that has been totally dominant and is up towards the top as well, is usually the team that gets the deserving player to be player of the year by being a great player and helping your team win.

It’s all about making your team win. What he and (Jamal) Murray did at South Carolina without coach (John) Calipari on the sideline is absolutely mind-boggling and impressive. I was just blown away because I know how good South Carolina is and how tough they are.

Those two were just incredibly dominant. Ulis does so much for his team at both ends of the floor. He’s great at pressuring the ball and taking the opposing team’s point guard out of the game. Then he handles pressure and makes plays for others, can score and is shooting the ball terrific.

If you were to tell me that Kentucky wins the conference then he’s the player 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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