Mississippi State dominated Southeastern Conference basketball in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Starting in 1959, the team won four conference titles over five seasons. Yet despite earning their way, the Bulldogs remained routinely absent from NCAA tournaments. Amid a climate of fierce segregation, Mississippi refused to allow its collegiate teams to compete with integrated programs. In 1963, one team determined to compete on the national stage made state history. Led by beloved coach Babe McCarthy, and supported by university students and administration, the Bulldogs made a daring and furtive trip to play Loyola’s integrated team in the national tournament.
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