STARKVILLE -- Craig Sword hit a lull. The Mississippi State senior guard failed to score in double digits in the final two games of December and the first Southeastern Conference game last week. The Bulldogs won the first two, but they missed Sword's production in a one-point loss to Texas A&M last Wednesday.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Regardless of the outcome of tonight's College Football Playoff championship game between No. 1 Clemson and No. 2 Alabama, a case can be made that no team in the history of the sport has had a better run than the Crimson Tide under coach Nick Saban. If Alabama beats the Tigers to win a fourth national title in seven seasons, the argument may be settled. There was talk early in the season after Alabama lost to Mississippi that the Tide dynasty was in decline. Now Alabama (13-1) is one victory away from an unprecedented achievement. The Tide can become just the third school in college football's poll era, dating back to the creation of The Associated Press media poll in 1936, to win four championships in a 10-year span.
STARKVILLE -- Confidence has been an elusive quality Ketara Chapel has tried to corral to be a consistent contributor for the Mississippi State women's basketball team. In some stretches -- like last season in MSU's run to the Preseason Women's National Invitation Tournament championship -- Chapel has showcased the inside-outside game and skill set to be one of the most effective forwards in the Southeastern Conference. In other stretches, though, Chapel has been a non-factor and has failed to assert herself, especially on offense.
STARKVILLE -- Victoria Vivians leads the Mississippi State women's basketball team in scoring, steals, and minutes per game.
STARKVILLE -- First-year Mississippi State men's basketball coach Ben Howland has coached in Bud Walton Arena once. Even though nearly 10 years has past since Howland last coached in the building, he knows the home of the Arkansas Razorbacks is one of the toughest places to play in the country and in the Southeastern Conference. That's the test Howland and MSU (7-6, 0-1 SEC) will face at 2:30 p.m. Saturday (SEC Network) when they face Arkansas (7-7, 1-1) in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
STARKVILLE -- The Mississippi State football team is beginning to fill the coaching vacancies on its staff. Scout.com reported Thursday that Louisville cornerbacks coach Terrell Buckley will take the same job at MSU. MSU hasn't confirmed the report. Earlier in the day, coach Dan Mullen announced the promotion of Nick Savage to head strength coach. Buckley replaces Tony Hughes, who left the program to become the new head football coach at Jackson State. Savage takes over for Rick Court, who left for Maryland after two seasons at MSU.
OXFORD -- Veterans Stefan Moody and Sebastian Saiz knew they were needed. Moody, a senior, and Saiz, a junior, took it upon themselves to help the Ole Miss men's basketball team overcome a 40-32 halftime deficit. But 10th-year coach Andy Kennedy said he challenged his entire team at halftime. "I leaned on everybody," Kennedy said. "I leaned on the acoustics of this building. We gave it a good test at the half, the lockers held up and the chairs are pretty sturdy."
Jeffery Simmons might not need it, but he is going to get one more chance to make a final impression. But Simmons will get that opportunity at noon Saturday when he is one of 90 of the nation's top players to participate in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. The game, which will pit the East vs. the West, will be broadcast live on WTVA.
STARKVILLE -- The approach sounds simple: Attack pressure with pressure. Vic Schaefer has devised enough suffocating defenses to know nothing is as easy as it sounds, especially when you get into Southeastern Conference play. But the fourth-year Mississippi State women's basketball has enough confidence in his players to realize they can take an opponent's best shot and give it right back to them
OXFORD -- Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze has received a one-year contract extension and raise that will push his salary to $5 million per year by 2018.
OXFORD -- The Ole Miss men's basketball team begins a new era at 8 tonight (ESPNU) when it plays host to Alabama in the first game in the $96.5 million Pavilion at Ole Miss.
STARKVILLE -- The Mississippi State men's basketball team is still learning. First-year coach Ben Howland installed a new offense in March when he replaced Rick Ray as the squad's coach. The change affected the Bulldogs' defense, but Howland started to address that issue in December when he began to teach defensive fundamentals. The next step for the Bulldogs is striking a balance between offense and defense.
STARKVILLE -- Rick Stansbury's first time back to Humphrey Coliseum since his decision to retire as Mississippi State men's basketball coach in 2012 was a success. The Texas A&M associate head coach watched from the bench Wednesday night as the No. 21 Aggies beat the Bulldogs 61-60 at Humphrey Coliseum.
STARKVILLE -- Junior linebacker Beniquez Brown became the third Mississippi State underclassmen to declare for the NFL draft on Wednesday.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Run up the middle against the Alabama football team and you're likely to be greeted by powerful big men like A'Shawn Robinson and Jarran Reed. Drop back to pass, and there's a fair chance explosive pass rushers such as Jonathan Allen and Tim Williams will be in hot pursuit. The most impressive part of the second-ranked Crimson Tide's formidable defense has been a front line that is both deep and diverse, even by Alabama standards.
STARKVILLE -- Less than 10 days ago, Mississippi State women's basketball coach Vic Schaefer talked about reverting to a "gruff old bear" in an attempt to affect a change in his team. MSU's fourth-year head coach was understandably disappointed with his players following a lackluster showing in an 81-41 victory against Southeastern Louisiana on Dec. 28. He said he didn't want to coach the Bulldogs that way, but he suggested a possible change because he was tired of seeing inconsistent performances from his squad.
STARKVILLE -- Morgan William is back in attack mode.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State junior defensive lineman Chris Jones' time as a Bulldog has come to an end.
STARKVILLE -- Ben Howland has coached in some great conferences.
Ole Miss wide receiver Laquon Treadwell and left tackle Laremy Tunsil are going to the NFL. Both players declared for the draft just three days after starring in the team's emphatic Sugar Bowl victory against Oklahoma State. Treadwell caught three touchdowns passes and Tunsil scored the only touchdown of his career on a trick play, catching a lateral and running for a 2-yard score.
1. Former Bulldog Renfroe hopes to stick with Padres LOCAL SPORTS
2. Donahoe leaving Heritage Aca. for top job at Marshall Aca. HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. MSU shooting for first regional at new home LOCAL COLUMNS
4. No. 11 MSU women face big test at No. 15 Texas A&M COLLEGE SPORTS
5. Alabama holds on to beat No. 15 Texas A&M COLLEGE SPORTS