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Chris Jans shares how first loss against Tennessee could help in their rematch

On3 imageby:Sam Gillenwater01/16/23

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Mississippi State was on the wrong end of a blowout in their first matchup against Tennessee earlier this season. Now, after falling to the Volunteers 87-53 in Knoxville, Chris Jans’ Bulldogs will play host to the same Top-10 team in Starkville on Tuesday evening.

In his preview press conference on Monday, Jans said his team is now having to watch that very difficult tape. He recognizes it may not offer much aid to the Bulldogs but he says it might at least show them what not to do like, for example, letting Tennessee get going early.

“That was the game where we didn’t show them any clips of that particular game. I hadn’t done that in a long, long time as a head coach. I don’t remember the last time, actually, when I didn’t,” said Jans. “We just felt like, at that point and that juncture of the schedule, that it wouldn’t be much positive (coming) about it. Now, we’re having to go back and watch it in preparation for this game.”

“It was just a combination of Tennessee playing really, really, really well. Getting hot early, feeling good, and the basket looking bigger. And us getting off to a horrible start,” Jans said. “We just dug ourselves in such a deep hole on the road against such a good team. We had little chance to actually win the game at that point as you look back and watch it.”

Mississippi State’s loss in Thompson-Boling Arena just two weeks ago was by far their worst of the year. Tennessee did whatever they wanted offensively as they shot 69.2% from the field and 57.1% from deep. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs shot just 39.6% from the field and 22.2% from three while the Volunteers outrebounded them by 15.

Jans knows that his team will have their hands full again with the Vols tomorrow night. They may be better prepared but, after Tennessee’s loss to Kentucky this weekend, he says UT is going to be fired up and looking to emphatically correct what happened in their last outing.

“I think we’ve gotten better since then. We’re (just) not getting them at the right time, if you will,” said Jans. “Certainly, when we saw the result Saturday afternoon before our game, we were focused on our game. But we’re human. And we’re like, ‘That probably wasn’t the best outcome for us’ considering it was their first loss in SEC play and it was at home. I’m sure Coach Barnes and the staff are rallying the troops and trying to get that taste out of their mouth. But it is what it is.”

Jans and the Bulldogs can’t control the schedule. They can only deal with the team that’s in front of them. Regardless of how motivated the Vols will be inside Humphrey Coliseum, Mississippi State now has some revenge of their own to dish out after the 34-point beatdown earlier this month.