Prior to Saturday's game, what has this year's team and the previous three teams done?Earned three, soon to be four, NCAA Tournament Appearances.
Winsome Frazier and Marcus Campbell: They share the honor of being the winningest players in the history of Mississippi State basketball.
Ontario Harper: The old man of the group. Although he has battled injuries throughout his career, he has put forth every ounce of his energy to help his team win game after game with nary a complaint to be heard.
Shane Power: A transfer from Iowa State who has grown to truly love Mississippi State basketball and the MSU fans. The fans have returned the favor.
Lawrence Roberts: Mr. Double-Double himself. Although he's only been a Bulldog for two years, he has solidified himself in the hearts of all Bulldog fans due to the effort he puts forth every night while being double and triple teamed.
Seth Cannon: A guy who walked on at Mississippi State and has done his part by putting forth total effort in games and in practice. Guys like Seth are the unsung heroes of their teams.
Saturday is the day that all Mississippi State fans can send these young men off with the tribute they so richly deserve.
The Mississippi State Student Association and Rick's Rowdies are doing their part and it has been noticed by the team, according to MSU assistant coach Phil Cunningham.
"We are well aware that the Mississippi State Student Association and Rick's Rowdies are sponsoring 'White Out the Hump' on Saturday," said Cunningham. "We know that our fanbase, whether it be the students, alumni or whomever it may be, want this game as badly as we do. I think it is a great idea to do the White Out the Hump Saturday because it shows that we are all together as one. It's not about just the players and coaches trying to win the game, but about everybody at Mississippi State trying to win this game. Everybody has a bad taste in their mouths after that game in Tuscaloosa in January. We need all 10,500 fans in that Hump Saturday helping us to get a win. That's what it will take because Alabama is one of the best teams in the country. They are going to come in here probably playing for the Western Division title. It will take every bit of energy we can get from our crowd to help us win the game Saturday."
Although a sellout crowd is expected, would it mean even more if the crowd started cheering the team the minute they come out for warmups?
"Oh yeah, it would," said Cunningham. "We think our crowd is one of the best in the SEC. They are like a sixth man to us. When our crowd is into it and that place is rocking, it is not only one of the most intimidating places in our league, but, we think, the country. It is interesting that Matt Walsh from Florida gave our crowd a lot of praise by saying 'it was the toughest place in the SEC to play'. And he takes a lot of flack wherever he goes, so that means a lot coming from him."
While the MSU crowd is the team's sixth man, the six seniors are the ones that have caused the MSU crowd to become that sixth man. Coach Cunningham talked about the senior class.
"It has been a different mix of seniors," said Cunningham. "You have three transfers and you have three that have been here their entire career. They've been involved in a lot of winning. It has been stated that Winsome Frazier and Marcus Campbell are the two winningest players in the history of Mississippi State basketball. This team is also going to be the fourth team in a row to win 20 or more games and go to the NCAA Tournament four years in a row. These guys have been through a lot and have been a major part in laying the groundwork that, hopefully, the guys that follow them will build on and help Mississippi State become even more of a national name in college basketball."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.