On a brisk Tuesday evening in Dayton, Ohio, Mississippi State and the Pitt Panthers met in the First Four of the 2023 NCAA Tournament. With twenty-one lead changes between the two, Mississippi State and Pittsburgh deliver college basketball fans with an exciting appetizer for the rest of the NCAA Tournament. However, despite a valiant effort from the Bulldogs on Tuesday night, Pitt sent the Bulldogs home with a 60-59 loss to end the season for Mississippi State. Mississippi State had a wide-open look from behind the arc as time expired, but they saw the ball lip out of the rim. The boys in Maroon and White will return to Starkville, Mississippi, heartbroken but with momentum heading into next season.
Despite the loss on Tuesday night of the NCAA Tournament, Mississippi State had a successful first season under Head Coach Chris Jans. Coach Jans led the Bulldogs to a 21-win season, a win in the 2023 SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament, and a bid to the NCAA Tournament. Coach Jans did it without his level of guys on the roster, and he gave Mississippi State fans something to be excited about, as the future of Mississippi State Bulldogs Basketball is in good hands. People around Starkville, Mississippi, have every reason to be excited about what Coach Jans is building at Mississippi State. Next year, Coach will have a few returning, mixed with guys he can win championships with at Mississippi State.
Sure, losing in the First Four of the 2023 NCAA Tournament is less than ideal if you’re Mississippi State. However, there’s still so much to be excited about surrounding the future of Mississippi State Basketball. For years, Mississippi State Basketball has always been there; in the shadows of the Southeastern Conference, all the Bulldogs needed was the right man to come in to give life to a sleeping giant of a basketball program. It won’t ease the heartbreak of losing, but Mississippi State Basketball has a future filled with championships and celebrations.
In a few years, Mississippi State Basketball fans will look back on the first year of the Chris Jans era in Starkville, Mississippi, with reflection as the realization sets in that the 2022-2023 Mississippi State Basketball team was the one that changed Bulldogs for the better. It won’t be an overnight fix, but the future of Mississippi State is under good management. Soon Championships will be the standard at Mississippi State.
There’s always next season for Mississippi State Basketball. Remember the feelings you have; because those feelings will be few and far between as Coach Jans continues to build the Mississippi State Basketball program, one brick at a time.