Remembering the 2004 Season – Road Warriors

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The Ride

College basketball is a student’s game in a lot of ways. The students are close to the action making noise and have a large impact on the game. They are on campus for weeknight games when the alumni can’t make it to town. The student are in a frenzy when maybe the fans who aren’t in school aren’t quite as hyped up.

I say that because I’m glad I was in school for this regular season. The 1996 team did make it to the Final Four and that it would have been cool to have been at MSU during that time, but this regular season was like none other, so being able to experience it first hand was a treat that I’ll always remember.

Before twitter and facebook and smart phones we had to wait on news sometimes. Every Monday, on the 5 PM edition of SportsCenter the college basketball AP poll would be released. It was must-see TV for me and my buddies. It was a big deal back then. It was especially a big deal when we say Mississippi State’s name in the top 5.

In three different polls that year MSU was in the top 5. We were in the top 10 from February 3rd on (seven polls). It was incredible to be apart of that. To be that good. Remember, again, this is coming off a 2-10 football season. This was huge. It was everything to the Mississippi State sports fan.

*****

One of the fun moments during that year was “the choke”. While playing Ole Miss at home Rick Stansbury gave the choke signal after being ejected. I don’t think I ever saw Coach Stansbury so upset about a call – or no call as it were if I remember correctly. That fired up everyone in the Hump and a route ensued, 80-56 Dawgs.

*****

My friends and I had lucky seats that year. We just happened to sit in the same seats near mid-court every game. And we just happened to sit in a certain order. After a number of wins it was kind of a funny haha “lucky seats”.  From pint night at the Hump to the final home game vs. Auburn, the five of us sat in the exact same order, in the exact same seats. Except for two games.

It became apparent to us that these were truly lucky seats when we lost to Alabama. This game was at the Hump, and for some reason I can’t remember now we did not get our usual seats. Then State loses 77-73….it was a very surprising loss. Then come to think of it we didn’t get our usual seats in the mad dash at Kentucky. We were Road Warriors but ended the SEC season 6-2 at home because of us!

The lucky seats were a real thing at the Hump. The lucky order worked on the road as we found out. At that Alabama game the five of us all made the trip. We spent the first half in a random order. At halftime one of us pointed out that the order was off…so we switch. Sure enough the comeback ensued, and the SEC Championship was ours.