The Mississippi State University Bulldogs are more than 2,500 miles from home. At about 4 p.m. CDT today, in the first round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, they play the University of Washington, a Pacific-10 Conference team right here in the heart of the Pacific Northwest.
As neutral sites go, this is about as neutral as Vicksburg during the Civil War.
But judging from Wednesday afternoon’s open-to-the-public practice sessions, the Bulldogs will have thousands of fans cheering for them against the Washington Huskies at Portland’s spacious Rose Garden arena. Normally fans of the Oregon Ducks, these new Bulldog fans will wear green and yellow, and definitely will yell for State. More precisely, they will yell against Washington.