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SMITH COLUMN: Basketball at the Hump a fans' treat

December 28, 2011

Beginning today, there will be four-straight days of basketball action at Humphrey Coliseum that's sure to satisfy the holiday hunger of any fan.
It will be very hard to get very far on this first page of the sports section without seeing a reference to the Travis Outlaw Slam Dunk at the Hump boys basketball tournament.
There will be four games each day beginning with today's 3 p.m. matchup between East Oktibbeha and Kosciusko.
Games are scheduled for 3 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. today and Thursday, while the final day on Friday starts at 11 a.m. and concludes at 3:30 p.m.
The highlight of the bracket is the four out-of-state teams that will bring a sense of unknown challenges to any opponent matched up in its path.
East High School out of Memphis proves to be one of the most respected programs in the field and are joined by Jackson Olin of Birmingham, Ala., Strong, Ark., and Carroll of Monroe, La.
Also in the mix are Starkville and East Oktibbeha from this county, area schools Louisville, Columbus and New Hope, while Kosciusko makes the short trip over from Atalla County and Aberdeen travels from Monroe County.
There are three sets of Bulldogs (Aberdeen, Strong and Carroll) who should feel right at home at Humphrey Coliseum, the home of the Mississippi State Bulldogs, while there are two sets of Mustangs (East of Memphis and Jackson Olin), then some Trojans, Falcons, Wildcats, Whippets, Titans and of course Yellowjackets.
SHS athletic director Stan Miller and boys basketball coach Greg Carter appear to have put together a great tournament.
"Coach Carter loves the challenge and we're looking forward to year after year with this thing," Miller said. "(Carter) has a tremendous ballclub. He is taking on three of the four out-of-state teams."
For anyone who had a hand in making this event happen, the efforts are appreciated. It was time for the city of Starkville to step up and host a big-time holiday classic that has a chance to become one of the best in the southeast.
If a full three days of high school hoops is not enough, MSU returns to Humphrey Coliseum on Saturday to host Utah State at 2 p.m. on New Year's Eve. Note the time change that was made to give an extra hour for those following the football Bulldogs in their quest to win the Music City Bowl.
MSU has some business to take care of in Dallas today before returning home.
The Bulldogs have their toughest matchup to date this season as they take on the undefeated Baylor Bears at 8 p.m.
MSU's task may be more difficult if junior center Renardo Sidney is unable to play. Sidney is questionable for the game after straining the patella tendon in his left knee against Northwestern State last Thursday.
It would certainly help the Bulldogs if Sidney was able to contribute, but there's still enough talent on the roster to pull off a big victory in Big D.

Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.

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