The Mississippi State Bulldogs have known for a while they would make a return trip to Hawaii.
On Thursday, the Bulldogs learned they would match up with the Tar Heels of North Carolina in the first round of the 2012 EA SPORTS Maui Invitational on Nov. 19.
MSU and UNC join Butler, Marquette, Southern Cal, Illinois, Texas, and Chaminade in the early season basketball event. The star-studded lineup has new Bulldog coach Rick Ray anxious to make the trip.
“This is a great opportunity for our guys to play against a storied college basketball program,” Ray said. “Obviously, having spent three years as an assistant at Clemson, I became quite familiar with North Carolina. Coach (Roy) Williams always has a talented group that is always well prepared. I know our players are excited about this challenge.”
MSU and North Carolina have met just five times, with UNC winning on each occasion. The last meeting between the two came in the second round of the 2010 NIT in Starkville, with North Carolina rallying from 12 points down to claim a 76-74 win on a layup with 3 seconds to play.
The Bulldogs plan to announce the remainder of their non-conference schedule next week.
Ray on ESPNU tonight
Mississippi State head coach Rick Ray is on the road scouring the nation for the next hoops star who is ready to become a Bulldog.
This week takes the first-year head coach to Orlando, Fla., for the latest round of basketball tournaments. While evaluating the talent on the court, Ray took time to sit down with ESPN’s Andy Katz.
Ray and a trio of other coaches will be on Katz’s Corner tonight on ESPNU at 10 p.m. Ray will discuss the transition process the Bulldogs are undergoing.
College football fans enjoy new uniforms for their favorite teams.
Mississippi State fans are no different.
With that being the case, Thursday must have seemed like Christmas in July with Adidas releasing the new TECHFIT jerseys the Bulldogs will sport this fall.
The seamless TECHFIT jerseys displayed for the first time Thursday feature traditional home maroon with white trim and road white with maroon trim. The TECHFIT pants will be available in three color combinations – maroon/white, white/maroon and a new silver pant option with maroon trim.
"Our players love the design of these new uniforms, but more importantly they really like the feel and performance of the new material," said MSU football coach Dan Mullen in a release. "We're looking forward to showing them off on Sept. 1."
The new Adidas TECHFIT jersey brings revolutionary technology to the table. The uniforms will be 30 percent lighter and include a streamlined fit, new fabric, reduced seams and an ultra lightweight name and numbering system. Reduced seams and a restriction-free, high-stretch collar design increases range of motion to support player agility and speed.
"We value the relationship we have with Adidas, our uniform and sideline apparel supplier," Mississippi State athletic director Scott Stricklin said. "Adidas has been aggressive in both design and fabric development, and has been responsive to our goals since partnering with us in 2009. We look forward to the upcoming season and the new Adidas products."
Later this fall Adidas will unveil an additional uniforms designed specially for the game with Texas A&M and the season-ending Egg Bowl.