Buster 1996 & 1997

1996

* 1996: #5 Mississippi State vs #1 Connecticut (60-55 Reg. Semifinal)

The Bulldogs were at the top of their game entering the tournament having won 6 of 7 including a victory over powerhouse Kentucky in the SEC tournament championship. The Huskies, coached by Jim Calhoun (HOF), were an impressive 32-2 and were led by future NBA All-Star Ray Allen (HOF). In a show of good luck, the game was played at Rupp Arena where Mississippi State had played the year prior against Kentucky and won for the first time ever. A win against UConn would make it 2 in a row. The Bulldogs jumped out to 10-2 lead in the first few minutes and never trailed the entire game. Poor shooting in the second half by Mississippi State allowed UConn to cut the lead to 58-55 with 28 seconds left. But a missed three point shot by Allen and 2 made free throw by the Bulldogs sealed the deal. Mississippi State had earned a spot in the Elite Eight for the first time in school history but they weren’t done yet. The Bulldogs then beat Cincinnati but lost to Syracuse preventing what would have been a third meeting of the season against Kentucky. None the less, the magical run in the NCAA Tournament concluded an amazing season for the most decorated basketball team in Mississippi State history.


 

1997

* 1997: #14 Chattanooga vs #3 Georgia (73-70 1st Rnd)

Chattanooga was having an impressive year when they made it to the Big Dance for a 4th time in 5 years. They finished in 1st place in the Southern Conference, won their conference tournament and at one point in the season won 11 in a row. The Mocs were confident going into their opening round game against Georgia and it showed. Chattanooga scored the first 15 points of the game and it was pretty much over for the Bulldogs from there. The Mocs then upset #6 Illinois 75-63 and in the process made their first ever trip to the Sweet 16. Unfortunately, that is as far as they would make it as their run ended when they lost to Providence. The 1997 Chattanooga Mocs are one of only two #14 seeds to advance out of the opening weekend of the tournament.