Remembering the 2004 Season – Road Warriors

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With a 25-2 record, SEC Championship and #4 ranking it was pretty easy to see how we’d run through the SEC Tournament on our way to a #1 seed in the big dance. So when I arrived in Atlanta I was planning to stay a while. That didn’t work out so well.

Vanderbilt had other plans. They beat MSU 74-70 in OT. That was a good Vandy team who made the Sweet 16, but it was shocking nonetheless. This loss on Friday night of the SEC Tourney, the first game State played in, almost assured there would be no #1 seed. Still, this was a very good team and what really mattered was the NCAA Tournament.

MSU ended up with a #2 seed and was sent to Orlando, Florida. Monmouth was the opening opponent which the Dawgs disposed of easily, 85-52. Then on a Sunday around lunch time the Xavier Musketeers caught fire in Round 2.

The Bulldogs had beaten Xavier in the regular season, 82-70 at the Hump. They were a seven seed, and while it would be a difficult game, nothing out of the ordinary. But they were on fire like NBA Jam that day. State has a 23-13 lead to start the game but then Xavier starting making midcourt shots and everything leaving their hands was going in. Overall, they were 13 of 19 from behind the arc.

The season ended just shy of the Sweet 16. The Final Four and maybe even a national championship seemed like it was there for the taking, but MSU just ran into the wrong team.