After a tight and frustrating 82-74 home loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide, Chris Jans and his Mississippi State basketball team are facing a rather tough test. The Bulldogs are hitting the road and are set to face off against the 12-3 Kentucky Wildcats in Rupp Arena.
As is the norm with any talented Kentucky team, the Wildcats expect greatness this season. And with the sort of offense that they're boasting right now, the Mississippi State men's basketball team is going to have its hands full trying to slow the Wildcats down.
Part of that will involve Mississippi State moving past its recent loss to the Crimson Tide. The Bulldogs can't afford to let that game hang over them.
When Chris Jans was asked about his team's motivation heading into this game, he downplayed how much of an impact the Alabama loss would have on the Bulldogs in their Wednesday evening contest against the Wildcats.
Mississippi State basketball: Bulldogs look to bounce back against Kentucky Wildcats
"Again, I don't think the outcome will have much bearing, [Kentucky's] or ours, I think both teams are going to be ready to go," Jans said. "I think both teams are going to play really, really hard."
There's a good chance that the Bulldogs have a tough time in this game. But, interestingly enough, Mississippi State isn't the only one entering into this contest coming off of a frustrating loss. The Kentucky Wildcats are coming off of an overtime road loss to the Texas A&M Aggies.
So, you can bet the Wildcats will be interesting in avoiding two losses in a row.
In his press conference, Jans emphasized that the Bulldogs need to focus on taking care of what they can take care of. And a lot of that has to do with practice leading up to the game agains the Wildcats.
"Most importantly, we've just got to have two good days of practice. We've got to have two really good days of understanding what went wrong [against Alabama], and our staff trying to work together to do some things in practice we can get better at so we can get it on the court on Wednesday," Jans explained.
But that's easier said than done.
"All of that stuff sounds good in theory, but when they throw that ball up you're not thinking about anything but playing the team that you're playing and trying to get the scout in the game," Jans said.
So, the Bulldogs are going to try and slow the Wildcats' high-octane offense. And they'll try to keep up with Kentucky, a team that is averaging over 90 points per game. The Bulldogs don't average anywhere near that, but MSU's defense has proven to be more stout than UK's and maybe that'll be something that works in Jans' favor.