We gathered at Humphrey Coliseum this afternoon to shoot the breeze with Rick Stansbury, Dee Bost and Rodney Hood, talking about the team and of course Wednesday's big game at Ole Miss (8 p.m., CSS/ESPN3.com). Bost will be the focus of my story for tomorrow's paper, and if you follow him on Twitter, then you've seen that he's trying to spice things up a bit with some trash talk.
"It's Ole Miss. It's our rival. Everybody talks trash, especially during the game. I'm just starting it off early on Twitter," Bost said.
The senior point guard has played awfully well in Oxford the past three years, so he has room to talk. And for the record, he said the biggest trash-talker for Ole Miss is senior forward Terrance Henry.
Hood is just a freshman, but he's from Meridian, so he understands the rivalry. I'm not sure he's quite as engaged in it as guys like Bost are, though.
"I know people don't like Ole Miss. I don't got nothing against them, but I know State fans really want this," Hood said. "I know we don't like them, they don't like us."
Well, Hood will be tasked with guarding the 6-foot-9 Henry when MSU plays man defense – which is most of the time – so I'm sure he'll get a proper introduction to the rivalry. Should be fun to watch that matchup, which MSU coach Rick Stansbury really isn't too nervous about.
"Rodney has been pretty consistent and pretty good, anybody he has had to guard he has had to guard all year," Stansbury said. "This will be just another kind of challenge for him."
The No. 18-ranked Bulldogs (15-3, 2-1 SEC) will be favored in Oxford, but the road hasn't been kind to SEC teams in league play so far. State's first road game was a 98-88 loss to Arkansas, so it has to make good on its chance Wednesday. And then comes a trip to Vanderbilt on Saturday.
"Teams that win championships are teams that can go on the road and win," Stansbury said. "That's no different. That's every year, that's every team in this league."
Here are a few more quick thoughts from Stansbury:
• On the Ole Miss frontcourt of Henry, Reginald Buckner and Murphy Holloway: "Buckner, Holloway and Henry are about as athletic as any three guys on that backline. … There’s no question that Holloway and Buckner are big-time athletes who can really rebound that basketball and that’s a concern."
• On how Holloway, who transferred to South Carolina and then back to Ole Miss, has changed since Stansbury last saw him: "Probably bigger and stronger, and there's no substitute for experience. He's a fourth-year junior now, so there's no substitute for that. He's an experienced guy, and his stats show it. You're averaging 10-plus rebounds a game in this league, that's pretty impressive."
• On MSU committing the fewest fouls in the nation (13.0) while still playing a physical defense: "We've been pretty good at not fouling, and that starts in those post areas. That's where the physicality of it is good. Then it starts with allowing point guards to penetrate. Keep them point guards out of the lane a little bit, that's less opportunities those bigs have chances to foul against those kinds of guys."