Advertise with usContact UsRTI Team

What Mississippi State Coach Chris Jans Said After Knocking Off Tennessee

Photo By Bailey Black/Mississippi State Basketball

Mississippi State is the only team in the SEC that Tennessee basketball didn’t beat in the regular season. The Vols couldn’t get revenge against the Bulldogs on Friday afternoon as Mississippi State dominated Tennessee 73-56 in the SEC Tournament Quarterfinals.

After the game, Mississippi State coach Chris Jans discussed the impact of the win, what the Bulldogs did well and much more. Here’s everything Jans said.

More From RTI: Everything Rick Barnes Said After Tennessee Fell To Mississippi State on Friday

On if this was Mississippi State’s most impressive win of the season

“I’m not in the mood or portion of the season where we’re reminiscing that much. Certainly it was a big win for us, considering the platform, considering it’s the end of the year, considering what we’re trying to play for. We’ve got so much respect for Coach Barnes, his staff and their players. I mean, to win the SEC regular-season title is big-time. To go through the gauntlet of this type of league, be able to come out on top says so much about their program. They do it the right way.

Really felt our only chance was to hit them in the mouth. We had to come out and attack ’em, just get our toughness in the game and see if we could rattle them a little bit.

Our plan was super aggressive in everything we were doing defensively and even offensively for that matter. You’ve been doing this long enough that sometimes when you got a game on that court, you’ve got a run, you’ve got a win, you feel really good, they haven’t played in a while, sometimes you get a little rust on your game that way as well. I thought that had something to do with the way the game unfolded, at least from the start.”

On if there was something about the Tennessee match up that particularly played to their benefit

“It doesn’t happen very often, but we actually felt going into the first game, even this afternoon with a similar mindset, that we wanted to really attack inside-out and try to go at Aidoo and their other bigs as much as we could. He’s an unbelievable player, especially on the offensive end. He’s a good shot-blocker, as well.

We felt like we had a little bit at times a weight advantage. Try to get our back-down game, get Jimmy and Tolu doing, get to the free-throw line while you’re trying to pound the ball inside.

On the perimeter, obviously it starts with Knecht and Zeigler out there. With Knecht, you do the best you can, make him a volume scorer, make it hard. With Zeigler, you got to do your best. They’re obviously both really good players. We felt good about the matchup, and that’s helped us. We beat them. We got confidence going into this game. Our kids felt good about the matchup all day long.”

On embracing the underdog role

“I don’t know. A lot of different reasons probably. These kids are tough-minded guys. We feel like we work pretty hard on a daily basis. They bought into that, bring it every day, lunch pail mentality.

For the most part, some of them weren’t recruited at the highest levels, a bunch the stars by their names. We have a couple of them did, but a majority of our guys didn’t grow up in basketball that way. We mixed this group together. Fortunately they got to know each other and like each other. You can tell by the way they play for each other. At times we talk about that chip, trying to use it to our advantage in certain situations.”

On players’ families sitting behind the bench

“It’s been really fun to be here for the last two years and getting to know these guys. When you walk in, you’re talking about a bunch of guys that have been with us for two years, certainly some additions. They didn’t know me, I didn’t know them. There was some blind faith on their part to stay with us. They had choices not to. Even after the first year, they had choices not to.

Getting to know their families and how supportive they are, that’s what impressed me the most after our first year, during our first year, is the quality of young people that I inherited. Certainly what we added to the group. It makes it more fun every day knowing you’re going to work, to practice, they’re going to have a good mindset for the most part individually and collectively.

In terms of the dynamic during those games, it’s different. I don’t have rabbit ears fortunately. My wife will ask me a lot throughout our career of, Did you hear what they said?

I’m like, No.

She goes, I don’t know how you don’t.

I go, I don’t know either, but I’m glad that I don’t.

So I’m sure there was stuff said that I didn’t hear, but don’t get me wrong, I can’t lie to you that I don’t hear them once in a while. As long as we keep winning, them being behind there is no issue.”

On forwards Cameron Matthews and D.J. Jeffries having big games

“I mean, great basketball bodies. I’ve talked about this with the local folks obviously. They know how to play. That’s the one thing that in my opinion is the hardest thing to teach, is just instincts. They every have it or they don’t. You can get a little bit better at it. Just an understanding of what’s going on out there all the time.

Those two are at the top of the list for our team. We got a bunch of other guys, too. They just get it. That’s nice as a coach to have guys on the floor that do get it. It makes a big difference.

They’re about winning more than anything else. In this day and age, in college basketball, unfortunately that isn’t always what’s going on. Our guys in that locker room, especially these two, have put aside some interest of their own to sacrifice to be part of something bigger than themselves. It’s fun to be a part of it.”

On the keys to holding off Tennessee’s runs

“Well, I’m not surprised obviously with the quality of program and the players that they weren’t going to go away. We talked about it at halftime. Certainly talked about it in some of our huddles of trying to get out of this huddle and have the mentality that we were down 10, play with that urgency. They’re not going anywhere. They’re going to punch back.

They did that, definitely had some similarities to the first matchup where they slapped the press on us and we struggled a little bit. We played well enough in the first half that the deficit was a little bit bigger than it was in Starkville. That certainly brought our comfort level to us when they were trying to make their comebacks.”

On trusting his senior leaders down the stretch

“Yeah, it’s been fun to coach a team the last couple years that have voices. Some of them have grown recently, some have been there from the jump, to empower those guys to take ownership of the program.

Like I said earlier, we have a lot of high-IQ guys that get it. You don’t have the to worry about them saying the wrong thing that could get you off the path a little bit. It’s a big plus. We obviously went through a stretch there where we weren’t playing our best, weren’t having the outcomes. Like I kept telling them, we’re a good basketball team that is playing other good basketball teams. It’s hard to win especially on the road but sometimes at home depending on the quality of the opponent. They continued to scratch, fight and claw. Now we’re being rewarded for it.”

Similar Articles


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tweet Us