March 18, 2009

Stansbury talking NCAA Tournament

Rick Stansbury had little time to celebrate his team's monumental Southeastern Conference Tournament Championship on Sunday over Tennessee.

Just minutes after cutting down the nets at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, he joined his team in the back of the arena to learn their fate during the NCAA Selection Show on CBS. When the matchup was announced between Mississippi State and Washington for Thursday in Portland, Stansbury's mind immediately began game planning for the Huskies.

"Washington got the worst draw in the tournament," Stansbury said. "I don't mean that in a negative way. They're a four-seed. You're supposed to get a Sun Belt or an OVC team. They got us, and I don't think they're really excited about it either."

Stansbury admittedly did not know much about the Huskies as his team headed home on Sunday only being able to watch them play on late night television on the West Coast. But he quickly got caught up on his first round opponent by Monday afternoon.

"I know a little bit about their players," Stansbury said. "The (Jon) Brockman kid, I think, entered the draft and came back. He's 6'7" or 6'8" and 260 pounds. I think he made first team all-Pac 10, and that tells you he's pretty good. They have a freshman point guard. He's a prep kid, Isaiah Thomas. He's probably their big surprise this year. I think he led them in scoring at 15 per game. The wing guys, (Quincy) Poindexter and (Justin) Dentmon, they've got some experience in those spots. They're quick and athletic, not real big in the standpoint of those guards, but they put three point guards on the floor a lot. They spread you out and shoot threes. They play fast and have an ability to defend. They want to get up and down the floor for sure."

The matchup that will be magnified during this game will be in the low post between Brockman and MSU junior center Jarvis Varnado. Brockman is averaging a double-double per game with 14.9 points and 11.2 rebounds but has likely never gone up against a defensive presence like Varnado.

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