I’m Totally Over It Except For The Fact That I’m Deeply Bitter

AP Photos by Wade Payne

Oh, people.

I have known some Mississippi State sports-related heartache in my time.

There was the field goal that the wind stopped in the ’83 Egg Bowl. There was the loss to Tennessee in the 1998 SEC Championship football game. There was 4th and goal against LSU last fall. There was the regular season loss (in overtime) to Kentucky’s basketball team about a month ago.

But there has never been a sporting event that just plain ole ripped out my heart out and slung it around and stomped on it and crammed it back into my chest like this past Sunday’s loss to Kentucky in the SEC Tournament Championship Game. Our boys fought so hard and played so well and had all but won when Kentucky tied the game with .1 second on the clock.

POINT ONE. ONE-TENTH OF A SECOND. AND I HOPE THAT I AM EXPRESSING THESE NUMBERS-RELATED TERMS CORRECTLY, FOR THEY ARE CRITICAL TO MY TALE OF BASKETBALL-RELATED WOE.

Because oh my word. Heartbreaking. A tenth of a second. And everything changed.

We ended up losing by a point in overtime, but I tried my best to see the positive. I really did. It was an incredible game – who knows how many lead changes and both teams playing inspired basketball (if you’re into that sort of thing, you know exactly what I mean). The Bulldogs went toe-to-toe with the number two team in the country and gave them all they could handle. And when the game was over, I was definitely disappointed, but I was mainly just proud of our guys. I felt like in the end the game was going to be an incredible motivator for the Bulldogs in the NCAA tournament.

But therein lies the rub.

Late Sunday afternoon the NCAA Selection Committee announced the 64 teams for the tournament. Mississippi State was not on the list. And y’all? I was ticked. I was really, really ticked. I tried not to act ticked because we were hanging out with some sweet friends and I did not want them to be discouraged or dismayed by my Deep, Festering Aggravation with a bunch of basketball-analyzing strangers, but TICKED, WHY YES, I WAS.

Thank you for asking.

The Bulldogs did get invited to the NIT, and while at first I was not terribly excited about this development, the more I’ve thought about it the more I’ve gotten on board with it. It’s sort of like going to a school dance with a date who’s not necessarily your first pick – but eventually your mama’s wisdom starts to sink in and you think, “Well, at least he thought enough of me to ask.”

That’s how I feel about the NIT right now. It might not be what Bulldogs dreamed of, but the NIT asked us and gave us a number one seed. And they appreciate us. And by diggity, I am getting in the car this afternoon and driving to Starkville and going to our first-round game against Jackson State and cheering my bitter head off.

Be warned, NIT officials: I may arrive with boutonnieres. I think Japanese magnolias are lovely this time of year.

And you can still join our NCAA Tournament Challenge group, by the way. Because even though I have some ish-ahs with the selection committee, I will in no way allow my personal basketball tragedy to interfere with my ability to speculate about the next national champion.

That is my promise to you.

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Comments

  1. Charlotte says:

    As a Kentucky girl currently transplanted in Florida….I have to tell you that I was hacked also that MSU didn’t get in but Florida did. And although I am probably as big a UK fan as you are an MSU fan, I told my hubs during the game that I almost wanted the Bulldogs to win so they would get in the tournament….so sorry for your guys, they deserved it. But I will cheer them on in THEIR big dance!

  2. That was the game that got me excited about the tournament this year – so excititng! I can’t believe Miss. won’t be a part of the NCAA tournament – they played so well. Enjoy cheering them on in the NIT!

  3. That last line totally gave me a Steel Magnolias flashback. I too am a little upset with the selection committee for not giving the SEC West any love. I’ll be cheering for your Bulldogs in the NIT so they can prove they really belonged in the Big Dance. Go SEC!

  4. First and foremost, I am a Razorback fan…however, after that SEC Championship game, I was upset for the Bulldogs. And I was upset and still think they should have gotten in the Big Dance. Oh well…I say…Go Bulldogs…Win the NIT, Baby!

  5. I thought about you during that heartstopping, heartbreaking game on Sunday. And then again Sunday afternoon when we found out the Bulldogs didn’t get into the NCAA tournament. So unfair! Hope they win the NIT!!

  6. As KY fans we nearly had to go on blood pressure medication after that championship game. We are so glad to have won, but clearly we had a little luck swing our way bc you all shot the lights outta that three pointer!
    And not making the tourney? Boo!
    And Minnesota, who lost their last game by THIRTY points did?
    Please.

  7. Dear BooMama,
    I am so very sorry that your Dogs didn’t get into the ‘big dance’. That game was a nail biter and I was on the edge of my seat in despair until I about feel out of it with that last shot with one tenth of a second left. That was unbelievable. I was thinking about you the whole time….I was cheering and I thought oh no…boomama must be going berserk cause boy howdy did Miss play a GREAT game.
    Love you.

  8. I know- you were totally ripped off. I cannot believe Florida made it in before y’all did. I’m so sorry- I was cheering for you!

  9. We are gigantic UK fans in this house, but y’all definitely gave us a run for our money. During both games, I might add. I went from chewing my fingernails down to the nubs, to jumping on my couch like Tom Cruise. I could feel my ears getting hot and hear my heart beating. At one point, I told my hubby that I was either going to have a heart attack or vomit. MSU sooooo deserved to be in the NCAA tournament, and I was unusually upset when they weren’t. Normally I don’t pay much attention to the bracket, but this year they played their hearts out (twice) and needed to be appreciated. So sorry you’re upset. :(

  10. It was definitely a heart attack game! We are UK fans but have big respect for MSU. All my KY friends said you should have gone to the NCAA, but we didn’t want to play you again!

  11. I’ve bled blue since birth and I have to say I almost had a heart attack during the game last Sunday. Your boys played a tough tough TOUGH game and I was so disheartened to see they didn’t make it into the NCAA. I think it’s complete BS that Florida made it in and the Bulldogs didn’t. I will watch Miss St. in their big dance this year and remember it wasn’t that long ago that UK fans were watching our boys in the NIT (ahem, last year anyone?!?!). A lot can change in a year! Good luck to all the SEC teams!

  12. So enjoyed this post and love that you love MSU! I live in Starkville so to say that we bleed maroon is an understatement. At my wedding we had little cowboys with our names in maroon for the “send off”…I mean, really who wants bubbles when they can have cowbells???

  13. As a Baylor sports fan, I can completely relate with your tale of woe. Last year Baylor was invited to the NIT, it was so fun to see them keep playing, even though it wasn’t w/ their first date of choice, the NCAA. Also, love the shout out to Steel Magnolias. “I will in no way let my personal tragedy interfere w/ my ability to do good hair.” LOVE IT!

  14. Devestation….that is the only word. Sunday was a SAD day in Bulldog basketball, but hopefully they’ll run the table in the NIT.

  15. I’m another one of the Kentucky fans who wants to say that your Bulldogs deserve to be in the tourney. That game was an instant classic.

    Have you thought about rooting for the Wildcats in the tournament? They won’t be competing against MSU and their success would allow you to say: “Well, if it weren’t for a little luck we would have beaten them…”

  16. Leslie Ruth says:

    That next to last line was a Steel Magnolia reference at its best. Nicely done :)

  17. Frydaddy says:

    It didn’t happen.

  18. I’m a UK fan, but I would not have been upset if Miss St had won! I really thought after the game they gave UK that they were in the NCAA for sure! It seems the selection committee thinks that the SEC is not as strong as some other conferences. I BEG TO DIFFER!! I was bitter about them not making it in, too. Have fun at the NIT!

  19. I thought of you when I saw the score. When it came on the news I said, “OH NO! BOOMAMA IS GONNA BE HEARTBROKEN!” My husband just wanted to know who BooMama is??? Doesn’t everyone know that???
    It was a tough loss and I feel for ya! Stay strong my SEC sista!

  20. JenniferT says:

    AMEN SISTER. As a true MS Bulldog fan I am TICKED! But no matter what I will cheer on my dawgs. I am still bitter about it all. Unlike you I will not be watching the NCAA tourney, I am protesting, like it matters. Thank you for your elagent way of putting our loss. I couldn’t have been so nice. GO DAWGS!!!

  21. Rachel Miller says:

    Oh Heavens! So many UK fans! UGH! I am in Memphis and CANNOT root for KY. Your coach and team were supposed to be in Memphis. I’m sure you are enjoying him now, but you won’t enjoy the probation in just a few years. It will happen to you too! I promise! Our house will be cheering against you every step of the way!

    We are also looking forward to the NIT. Go TIGERS!

  22. As a Fighting Illini fan, I definitely feel your pain. It’s ridiculous that Minnesota made it to the big dance over us. We took Ohio State into double overtime on Saturday. Anyway, we also are a #1 seed in the “Not Invited Tournament”, so we’ll hopefully meet you there!

  23. Oh, I so totally agree with you on every little point! I’ll look for you tonight in the Hump! I am thinking of completely boycotting the NCAA games this year!

  24. I watched that game and thought of you the whole time, Sophie. What an inspiried game of basketball. It truy does not get any better than that. Props to your team.

    I do have to tell you, my husband and I were cheering against Mississippi State because we were terrified that if they made it into the Dance, our New Mexico Lobos would have to go up against them. Mississip State is not a team you want to play against in the first round! Wish us luck as we are actually flying to San Jose to watch the games!

    Enjoy the NIT. Unfortunately, we’ve been there several times, and while it’s not necessariy what you would have chosen, it is nice to see your team play just a bit longer.

    By the way, I’ve signed up for your ESPN group. I’m Polymoon94 and chose my teams based on 1. MWAC loyalty and 2. how the name of the school sounds (how can you not root for a team with a name like Gonzaga…say it out loud….Gonzaaaaaga!!)

  25. Oh honey, I have been there. I am a fan, granted not the fan that you are, but I am a fan of the stepchild of the Big 12, previously the Southwest Conference. The poor Texas Tech gets poohpoohed always, with the sensationalistic exception of ESPN exagerated broom closets….

    We had a worser than worse bb season that followed an emotional fb coaching upheaval (I am only now able to be civil about new Coach T.T. even though I like his initials)

    You make me laugh soooo hard. -and I love how much you love that boy of yours! Hold on, he will be “sobsniff” leaving for college soon!

  26. Do you know that I root for your team whether in football or b-ball because of you?! I was SO mad that the selection committee chose Florida over Miss. State. I was very disappointed! This is more a popularity contest than a selection committee. SO, with that said, Miss. State will win the NIT.

  27. I love your team spirit and your loyalty! We were screaming in our house during that game but for an entirely different purpose. See, we live in Lexington. And living here, your blood is blue whether you want it to be or not:)

    I do have to say that I think it’s completely wrong that Miss didn’t get picked for the NCAA! They fought a good fight on Sunday!

  28. As a Baylor alum and OVER THE TOP fan, let me assure you that the NIT can be whole loads of fun. We did not get invited to the Dance last year but ended up in the NIT finals and it was absolutely riveting. Awesome. Amazing.

    Also, can I just tell you that I cheered my little heart out for your Bulldogs while running at the gym on Sunday afternoon? My headphones were on and I was trying to act all calm and cool but I must admit to breaking out into spontaneous clapping each time Miss. State scored a basket. The elderly gentleman next to me thought I’d LOST MY EVER LOVIN’ MIND but I just smiled sweetly at him and kept on cheering. And ended up running REALLY fast due to the adrenaline, which I definitely felt all day yesterday.

    I can also assure you that you were the reason I was cheering for the Bulldogs and that it had nothing to do with the fact I’m still smarting a bit over John Wall choosing Kentucky over Baylor. Well, maybe just a bit but still… :-)

    Enjoy the NIT – I liked it because we went farther and played longer than we would have in the NCAA Tourney. Longer to act a sports fool is always a plus in my book!

  29. I was waiting for this post! I thought of you IMMEDIATELY upon learning of your beloved Bulldogs loss to Kentucky. My deepest sympathies, BooMama.

    On a positive note, our beloved Gophers are in the tournament this year and my Minnesota-born-and-raised hubby couldn’t be more delighted.

  30. TNMomma says:

    I’m another UK fan who thinks y’all got robbed by the selection committee. Still trying to figure out how Florida got in, but MSU didn’t. Your guys played a great game and deserved the invite. Maybe they’ll just run the boards in the NIT and you’ll get a trophy after all :)

  31. That was a lovely adaptation of one of my favorite lines from Steel Magnolias.

  32. Even on my spring break vacation at the beach…I watched EVERY LAST SECOND OF THAT GAME…and was just completely ticked off that MSU didn’t win. It was their game Sophie…it was THEIRS!!! They won that entire game!!!!!! I was so sick when it was all said and done. And, i’m still mad at the selection committee. They stink.

    I love you. I love SEC sports. I’m feelin’ your pain. Oh, and I kinda hope UK makes it to the final four and lose in the last second.

  33. Games like that one are why I generally don’t watch basketball and I thank God everyday my son plays soccer.

    I can not handle the stress ;)

    I was happy that the Cats pulled out a win, but did not realize that because they won Miss State didn’t get in the tourney.

    That is miserable.
    But, a lot can happen in a year!

  34. The selection committee can be best described as:

    A. Boils on the butts of humanity?
    B. Pigs from hell?
    C. Tacky?

    All of the above. Our Bullies deserved better.

    We have a hometown boy on that team, you know, so the slight stings just a little more than it normally would.

  35. I’m a Cats fan and was at the game on Sunday – those Mississippi State boys came to play and a little part of me was rooting for them!

    I was so disappointed they didn’t make the Big Dance; they truly deserved to be there.

  36. Lindsey T. says:

    Amen. The Bulldogs deserved the NCAA invite. But Starkville will be just as fun this weekend as ever! :)

    I am a MSU fan through and through…and I LOVE that you are too!

  37. Oh Boo, I am so sorry for your loss. Truly, I am. As a Kentucky grad, I was delighted with the win, of course, but I just wanted you to know my deepest condolences go out to you and yours.

    Throughout the entire game, the announcers made references to the fact that y’all had to win that game in order to get into the NCAA tourney. I didn’t understand the math and/or the political process regarding the selection of the 64 and chose to believe that anything was possible for your guys. They are extremely talented and Coach Calipari made a statement immediately after the OT game had ended saying something along the lines of “If U.K. was number 2, what does that make Miss. St.?” We all wanted you there!!!!

    Please know that we are one big SEC family and we love ya. We also love our Cousins in KY but that’s another talkshow!! And F.Y.I, my husband and daughter both know who you are. In fact, he sent a message to you via me at the Lifeway Women’s Ministry Forum that went something like, “Geaux Tigers!” He is originally from Louisiana. We will cheer for you in the NIT.

  38. I still haven’t been brave enough to bring up the snub to my husband. I hate to see grown men cry. :)

  39. Natasha P. says:

    Totally agree with you Boo! I’m an Alabama girl, which makes me an SEC girl too and I was also completely appalled and ticked about the Bulldogs getting snubbed! The NCAA’s loss in my opinion!

  40. I watched the end of regulation of that game. I felt so bad for your team. Definitely heartbreaking. I hope they do really well in the NIT. My team did make it to the tournament, but only because we won our conference championship and got an automatic bid. We play Kansas State tomorrow. President Obama has put K-State in the Final Four, so I guess we need a miracle. I love college sports.

  41. i came to you via heather, my next door neighbor. i knew you’d feel about the way that i do. we were in nashville, and we sat among the big blue nation on sunday. the lane violation at the end should have been called…our ball, game over. of course, a free throw on our end wouldn’t have hurt either. ugh…despite the win over jxn state last night, my heart still hurts. it’s tough to be a bulldog.

  42. I have been a lurker around here for a little while now…I just LOVE reading your blog!
    I live in Jackson, MS…and my hubby and I both went to MSU! We feel your pain! He and I were on our way back from the beach when we found out we weren’t being invited…and I was TICKED, too!
    But we won last night! So, woohoo!!!

  43. Sallie Howell says:

    Ok, we are sisters from the heart. When I opened the computer to catch up on blog reading (spring break and all), I get to Boo Mama and see the headline and picture of Jarvis. I knew what this was about. We had big plans to leave town Sunday following church for our little cabin get-away for Spring Break. Plans changed when we hit the championship game. The crockpot was plugged in and last song sung at church, we were home before the announcers could say a word. Yes, we wore our Maroon to church so that we might be ready. The days events left us sick. We were heart broken. We gathered ourselves and traveled an hour north-to the land of the TN River, a cabin and no cable. We figured out through our phones that we didn’t get the bid. Last night, our final night on stay-cation, we couldn’t even get the radio to pick up the game. Our hearts still ache. Hubby is now home looking for some Saturday tickets. He is ready! Basketball isn’t over for us. He was just catching up on local sports pages and the statement made was “I think the NCAA guys watch too much ESPN.” I think he is right. Those guys gave us no love all year. We do deserve more respect and everyone will see when we win this NIT!

  44. StephJR says:

    Oh, my goodness, no truer words have been spoken!!! I was there, dear! Yes, I mean right there in Nashville, TN, when in the last 5 minutes of regulation I quietly put my purse and jacket in my chair only to sit down in my seat as the inevitable loss came to its final conclusion. Only I cheer for the other team. Very loudly, usually. But after all the excitement and activity of the weekend, I could no longer hold out hope. I don’t think there were two handfuls of fans in that arena that still believed the CATS could possibly win. Your beloved Bulldogs were incredible and put up the most amazing fight imaginable! You have a great deal to be proud of. Thanks to you and all your readers for being TRUE SEC fans–not like so many haters my family ran into at the tourney. Your program is nothin but class, lady. GO DAWGS!!

  45. TICKED. BITTER. SAD. MAD. Oh, my goodness, seeing the faces of our players and Coach Stans after the game just about did me in.

    I currently have a very poor opinion of the NCAA selection committee – and the SEC powers that be.

    Then we played JSU last night…maybe not with the same enthusiasm, but we showed up and we won!

    I’m getting fired up about playing UNC on Saturday. Hail State and GO DOGS!

  46. At least you’re not going to the CIT! That’s where we’re headed and I had never heard of it.

  47. I was watching that game and was so sure that they were “your” beloved Bulldogs. I live about 40 miles north of the Ohio River, so we’re not far from KY. A lot of people in our area are serious UK fans but I was hoping your guys would win cause I’m a “fan” of yours :)

    Isn’t a loss like that awful? Our local high school team got beat almost exactly like that Saturday in the district finals in Athens, OH. We got beat by 1 point at the buzzer by a 3-point shot. I have played it over and over in my mind all week. Such a tough loss!

    I’m sorry for your loss. But, aren’t we glad that they’re just ballgames? If this is the worst disappointment we ever experience, we’ll be all right. I still feel bad for the kids involved, though. Life is hard, sometimes.

  48. I would have responded sooner but I had taken to my bed in my despair. Why, oh, why were we so mistreated? And then as I was regaining my strength, we played Jackson State and our Dee Bost was sucker punched in his manhood by a THUG!! Who thankfully was ushered off the floor, but only after the refs reviewed the tape. And although we graciously stomped the ever loving guacamole out of them, my heart was still sore and bruised from our aforementioned abuse at the hands of the NCAA. And my son tells me that NIT stands for Not In Tournament. And now, I think I have vented sufficiently. (Cue the Michael Jackson music)…You are not alone……

  49. A little late reading this. I am a diehard UK fan, have bled blue my whole life. There is no pulling for any other team. There came a point Sunday where I was wishing we were playing Vandy instead. I can’t handle UK/Vandy and UK/UT games, I hate them both. I have like out of body experiences during games, the kind where you think I would “lose my religion” over it. I was calm most of the game, and that it was over when they were down 5 with less than 2 minutes to go. And then John Wall, John Wall, how I love him. I never imagined in my wildest dreams that the game would have ended like that. I am sure it was tough to watch, and I might or might not have wet my pants, and I am pretty sure that our neighbors 3 streets over could hear me scream!
    Anyhow, I am probably boring you to tears, we are 2 peas in a pod about sports cause I happened to write a post about them winning, complete with youtube video. Anyhow, I was shocked when MSU didn’t get in and Florida did. Trust me though, us Kentucky fans know all about disappointment, can you say Duke and 1992 Elite Eight game? HEARTBREAK. It hurts, and out last 2 years during the Gillispie era, ugh!!! CAn we just erase the last 2 years. We went to the NIT last year and it’s no fun, so I won’t say anything about that.

    Your boys played a whale of a game.

  50. Oh, Boomama. I am with you on the NIT disappointment! It is a very new thing for a Carolina fan such as myself. Right now I am sitting on my couch praying and nearly hoarse from yelling (er, I mean cheering) for my Tarheels. (they need me!) All the while chuckling that you are currently doing the same for Mississippi State in your neck of the woods. (It’s currently 3 min left and we are tied).

    What a game!

  51. Oh my word….I am a bit late in reading this. While I am a Kentucky fan, I do know the heartbreak you are feeling.

    That last line of your post has me laughing, though, right out loud. I mean, it’s like minutes later and I am still snickering. How I love to read your writing, BooMama!