Mississippi State is 7-0 under first-year coach Chris Jans, and the team has held each opponent to 55 points or fewer.

The Bulldogs will try to continue their fast start against in-state rival Mississippi Valley State (1-8) on Saturday afternoon in Starkville, Miss.

Despite all the early-season success, Jans is constantly pushing for more from his team.

“We’re trying to be as best as we can with our best game as a standard each and every time we step on the floor,” Jans said. “For the most part, I think the fans and people that watch us play would agree these kids are playing hard and flying around and trying to do the right things.

“Certainly, as a coach, that’s what we’re asking for. At the same time, my job is to ask for more and be greedy and want to get better than they want to every day.”

Mississippi State rolled to a 74-54 home victory against Omaha on Monday night, but Jans said he was looking for “a little more of a dominating defensive performance.”

Tolu Smith led the Bulldogs with 12 points in the win on Monday. He is averaging a team-best 15.1 points and 10.6 rebounds this season.

The Delta Devils, who also have a first-year coach in George Ivory, picked up their only victory in their only home game of the season – a 76-68 win against North Alabama on Nov. 18.

The Delta Devils played at then-No. 5 Baylor, participated in a tournament in Hawaii and lost at Arkansas State 58-38 on Thursday.

Mississippi State Valley won’t play another home game until after it begins Southwestern Athletic Conference play.

The challenging pre-conference schedule is designed to help Ivory build the program.

“We want to compete for a championship,” Ivory said. “We want to be very competitive in the league. You want to make sure the guys are very, very competitive. Anytime you compete, the goal is a championship. … We let (the players) know where we’re trying to go. Our goal might not happen, but we want to go that route.”

–Field Level Media