While No. 2 Mississippi State University already clinched the outright SEC title, trophy and all, earlier this season, there is still one more SEC championship to win.
After finishing the regular season 30-0, MSU women’s basketball’s (30-0, 16-0 SEC) next stop is Nashville, Tennessee, and the SEC tournament.
The tournament gives every team a chance at the title, but obviously, MSU is favored as the number one seed after a dominant regular season.
The tournament began Wednesday with the four lowest seeds playing. MSU has a double bye, and therefore does not play until today.
They will take on No. 9 seed Kentucky (14-16, 6-10 SEC) after the Wildcats beat the University of Alabama (17-12, 7-9 SEC) 71-64 Thursday afternoon.
MSU faced Kentucky to close out the regular season in Lexington by a score of 85-63. MSU beat Kentucky 74-55 earlier in the season in Starkville.
If MSU wins, they look to face either No. 5 seed Texas A&M University (22-8, 11-5 SEC) or No. 4 seed LSU (19-8, 11-5 SEC).
Head coach Vic Schaefer talked about the tournament Tuesday.
“This time of year, you’ve been through so many games, so many battles that I think you are prepared for just about anything,” Schaefer said. “I feel very confident in what we’ve done to this point. The challenge this time of year is, ‘can you get better?’ If you aren’t getting better than you are getting worse.”
The winner of the SEC tournament gets an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament, and this type of magical run will be the hope for many of the teams with worse records than MSU. However, because so many teams in the conference are strong and highly seeded in any case, it is more of a point of pride than any practical help for MSU and many other schools in the postseason.
This motivation is still there for senior guard Roshunda Johnson and her teammates.
“We’re focused, and at the same time, I think we’re still hungry because we haven’t achieved our overall goal yet,” Johnson said.
MSU’s game against Kentucky will tipoff at 12 p.m., March 2, in the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. The SECNetwork will broadcast the game.