'What rivalries should feel like': Chris Jans weighs in on Mississippi State basketball vs. Ole Miss

Jan 27, 2024; Starkville, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs forward D.J. Jeffries (0)
Jan 27, 2024; Starkville, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs forward D.J. Jeffries (0) / Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Things weren't perfect Tuesday night and Mississippi State basketball fans should be upset that the Bulldogs fell short on the road in what should have been a very winnable game. Turnovers and sloppy play ended up costing the Bulldogs in a tightly-contested 86-82 affair on the road Tuesday night.

Mississippi State's road struggles extend beyond this game and the Bulldogs are 0-5 on the season so far when it comes to playing in someone else's stadium.

Maybe it's a curse. I don't know.

What I do know is that when Chris Jans was asked about the way Ole Miss fans showed up and made a raucous crowd, the head coach of the Mississippi State basketball team noted that this is what a rivalry matchup should be like.

“Yeah, it was great. This is what rivalries should feel like and should sound like,” Jans said in his postgame press conference.

The Bulldogs' head coach also made it clear that this game is important and should be treated as such.

“Like I told the team, if you’re not sky high in anticipation of playing a game like this, you’re probably in the wrong locker room," Jans explained. "That’s what you work hard for."

Mississippi State basketball: Chris Jans notes intense atmosphere between Ole Miss Rebels and MSU Bulldogs

There's been a lot of discussion in other sports about how meaningful rivalries can be. Between these two schools, baseball and football and softball have featured a number of memorable matchups. The Mississippi State soccer team continues to have success against the Rebels.

But both teams have had less-than-incredible men's basketball teams in recent years. It looks like that's changing.

"When you’re growing up, you want to play in these types of games when they’re meaningful," Jans continued. "Guys that are new certainly got educated on what this rivalry means to both fanbases."

But while he noted the raucous environment, Jans didn't think the Ole Miss fans created too much of a distraction.

"I didn’t think it affected us. I didn’t think it distracted us. I thought our guys really handled the situation,” Jans said. “You know, we just ended the first half poorly. We weren’t in control, but we had the upper hand of the game. It just didn’t end very well."

And as a result, Mississippi State is now 0-5 in road games this season. The Bulldogs are 14-7 and 3-5 in the SEC. Jans needs to get some wins on the road. He'll also need to get some big wins against Ole Miss. Especially if this rivalry continues in the way that it's going. Both the Rebels and the Bulldogs might have good men's basketball teams for the first time in a while. That's intriguing.