However, first-year MSU coach Chris Jans thinks the Magnolia State hosts plenty of potential in the sport. Five players on his roster come from Mississippi.
Growing the sport takes time, and it'll take more than just Jans. Playing against in-state opponents is a step. It's a chance for the state to display its talent, and MSU has a couple of those matchups coming up.
Mississippi State plays host to Mississippi Valley State on Saturday (1 p.m., SEC Network+). That's followed by a matchup in Jackson against Jackson State on Dec. 14 (6:30 p.m.).
"I'm glad that we were able to do that to grow the game in our state, to get young people more aware of all the schools and universities that are playing this game that we all love," Jans said Wednesday.
Jans made his way to the SEC by coaching at mid-majors, so he knows the attitude smaller schools bring into nonconference matchups. Facing a mid-major from within the state adds some risk Jans is willing to take for the sport's growth.
"I've been on the other side of that, and it's fun to have a crack at the bigger school and the bigger conference," Jans said. "Certainly, it's a little risky at times where you're Mississippi State playing those type of folks because you know how they've circled that game and what a big opportunity that is for them. That'll be something we talk about."
Mississippi State basketball vs. Mississippi Valley State: Live score updates
This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: Mississippi State basketball score vs. Mississippi Valley State: Live updates