The day has finally arrived for Troy fans, the first (real) game in the new Trojan Arena. What a way to break in the new cathedral than to host your first Southeastern Conference opponent.
This isn’t the Mississippi State team that throttled Troy 106-68 last season, however. Two players left for the pros. Arnett Moultrie is with the 76ers, while Renardo Sidney is playing in the National Basketball Developmental League. Two others transferred. The Bulldogs have a new head coach, Rick Ray, eight scholarship players (five with little experience) and two walk-ons.
For more on Mississippi State, read Brad Locke’s column HERE.
The Trojans also come into the game as an inexperienced group. The Trojans will likely start two newcomers, Hunter Williams and Antoine Myers. Jeff Mullahey, Tevin Calhoun and Josh Warren will all see major minutes in their first Division I action.
In preseason interviews, Troy head coach Don Maestri talked about the hustle and desire this year’s team showed. That was evident on Monday. Players were everywhere on the court looking to make a play or get a loose ball or rebound. Troy isn’t going to outsize anyone this year, so they will have to out-hustle them.
Who: Mississippi State at Troy
When: Friday, Nov. 9 at 7:00 p.m.
Where: Trojan Arena
Line: Mississippi State -13.5
Who to watch: Hunter Williams and Emil Jones looked solid against Alaska-Anchorage, but Mississippi State is an SEC team with SEC talent. Jones, who registered a double-double against UAA, will need to lead the Trojans on the court in the new arena.
Matchup to watch: Wendall Lewis (Selma, Ala.) is a 6-9, 258-pound senior center. Troy doesn’t have anyone that can matchup with Lewis’ size, which is the same problem the Trojans had last year trying to handle Moultrie and Sydney in the low post. Ray Chambers and Josh Warren will have to find a way to at least slow Lewis down and put pressure inexperienced Bulldogs to make a shot from 15+ feet.
What to watch: EVERYTHING. The new arena is ridiculously nice. Be sure to make you way around the entire building and take in all the sights and sounds. I find a new favorite every time I walk inside. HERE is some video from Monday’s exhibition.