Bulldogs preview NCAA Tournament opener

Fifth-seeded Mississippi State opens the NCAA Tournament against No. 6 seed Chattanooga on Friday afternoon. Bulldogs’ head coach Vic Schaeffer previewed the game along with guards Victoria Vivians, Dominique Dillingham and Morgan William.

Vic Schaefer, Mississippi State Head Coach:

Opening Statement…

“It is a proud day. It is a great day to be a Bulldog. This is a proud day for me, my staff and my program to be able to host an NCAA championship. That speaks to our players and the team that they represent. I am very excited to show off our community and this great city that has been so supportive of what I call the people’s team. I know the people of this community will do a great job of embracing the other three teams and players. I am proud of my team and what we have been able to accomplish this year. This is a long hard grind. I am proud, very excited and welcome to Starkville.”

On Jazzmun Holmes…

“She has been great. She is going to be a great player. She is faster than Morgan [William] some days. Jazzmun is going through a lot of the growing pains that Morgan went through last year. She is running the offense and making sure we are not turning it over. Sometimes I have to remind her of that. She is really good in the open floor and I knew that when I recruited her. She sees the floor exceptionally well.”

On the team’s relationship with the fanbase…

“I think it is how we honor the game and how we play the game. Our players ability to communicate with the fans; we sign the same autograph and take the same pictures after every game and never say no. It is easy for parents to identify with our kids. This is how you are good, by playing hard and doing the little things. I give that all the credit in the world and it is why we are averaging 6,200 fans.”

On Victoria Vivians…

“I have said this before, but I think when Victoria [Vivians] is playing well our team is relaxed. But, we have had some of our highest scoring games when Victoria was not scoring. We scored quite a few against Vanderbilt. We have had some games where she has been in foul trouble, but we have scored a lot of points. I think that goes to the chemistry and balance we have on our team.”

Victoria Vivians, Mississippi State Guard:

On Chattanooga…

“They have very good guard play and they are very quick off the ball. They shoot high percentages. Their post player [Jasmine Joyner] is very different from ours. She attacks the basket and can shoot threes.” On playing well down the stretch… “I guess shots just started falling. I am still playing the same basketball, so whatever happens happens.”

Dominique Dillingham, Mississippi State Guard:

On being recognized by the mayor…

“It was a really proud moment for us to be recognized by the mayor of Starkville and to see all of our hard work pay off from the beginning of the season to now. We have to defend our home court. The mayor said it is Mississippi State basketball’s weekend and we have to make winning important this weekend.”

On the team’s relationship with the fanbase…

“I think we relate well with the fans. We go and talk to the fans, and sign autographs after the game. Our fans are always here no matter the result. We have a lot of respect for our fans.”

Morgan William, Mississippi State Guard:

On not turning the ball over…

“It is very important. Every possession counts when you can make a basket. Last year we lost a lot of posessions. This year we have to take care of the ball.”

On Jazzmun Holmes…

“She is a great ball player. She is just as fast as me and she feeds post players very well. She is like a mini me.”

 

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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