A little disclosure: I’m an alumnus of the University of Oregon and a bit of a Duck homer. I don’t wear the thickest prescription of green-colored glasses, but I’m definitely biased when it comes to my alma mater. So it should come as no big surprise that I’ll be rooting hard for the Ducks tomorrow in their first-round tournament game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
Travis Outlaw will be rooting hard too, but it won’t be for my beloved Ducks. Before deciding to go pro, Outlaw intended on playing for Mississippi State, which also happens to be in his hometown of Starkville. Travis has a lot of love for just about everything in Mississippi, and the Bulldogs are no exception.
So being that Outlaw is the only person that I know from Mississippi, I decided to pick his brain a bit about what my Ducks should expect tomorrow. His reply?.
“Ya’ll gonna’ lose," Outlaw said. "Mississippi State going to whip you. We bad. Ya’ll ain’t physical like us. We just big, you know what I’m saying? They produce studs, like myself. The state of Mississippi produce studs."
But what about all of the Ducks tournament experience from making the Elite Eight last season?
“What you calling ‘experience?’ Aaron Brooks was the big key to that team. Forget about that ‘experience.’ It’s all basketball at the end of the day. You still got to put the ball through the hole.”
So what’s the story with Javaris Varnando, the NCAA leader in blocked shots?
“Triple-doubles in blocks and stuff. That’s how they do down there where I’m from. We block shots.”
But the Ducks are three-point sharp shooters. How are the Bulldogs going to counter that?
“You’ve got to be able to get it off! Everybody taller than ya’ll! We got people that’s bigger and faster.”
As far as a score prediction goes, Travis was a bit hesitant. But the bottom line from the Mississippi native and self-described Bulldog fan is that the Ducks are in trouble.
“I don’t think it’s going to be a high scoring game,” Outlaw said. “It can be, but I don’t think so. I think it’s going to be one of the grind outs. That why I think we going to beat ya’ll cause we big down there. We gonna’ beast ‘em!”
The game should be getting over right before the Blazers tipoff against the Clippers, so if you don’t get a chance to see the final score before leaving for the Rose Garden, you can probably figure the outcome by looking to see what kind of mood Travis Outlaw is in.