Bulldog Maroon & White

a Mississippi State sports blog

Archive for January, 2009

Looking Back at Arkansas, Getting Ready for Bama

Posted by Kyle Weidie on January 14, 2009

Great opening SEC for the Dawgs against Arkansas last Saturday. MSU still got beat on the boards by the Razorbacks, 42-38, but that’s far from getting dominated….although, 17 Arkansas offensive rebounds and 19 second chance points doesn’t thrill.

However, as long as Mississippi State is shooting 11-27 from deep (40.7%) and running with four quick guards, outscoring the Hogs 15-0 in fast break points, I suppose they can more than compensate for getting beat on the glass (I bet it still irks Stansbury though…him being a big rebounding guy).

I didn’t get a chance to watch the game, (I was attending a Wizards game in Washington, DC and following game updates on my blackberry), but my father did, and he provided me with a couple bullet points on the game:

  • Some people say you can’t live on 3-pointers but Kentucky won a national title shooting the three.
  • Kodi Augustus and Elgin Bailey got some decent minutes, but Brian Johnson was a DNP after going into the stands in the final minute against WKU.
  • Low turnovers – maybe the small line-up will work and is coming together although it goes against the grain for SEC play – let’s hope they are growing up.

Good luck to the Dawgs tonight against the Tide.

MSU-Arkansas Links

[Inside Mississippi State Sports]
The buzz word after Mississippi State’s 70-56 win at Arkansas was “poise,” because the young Bulldogs showed plenty of it. For a team so lacking in senior leadership, it was mildly surprising to see them not get rattled at Bud Walton Arena. Dee Bost, the freshman point guard, was indeed calm and collected en route to his 17-point performance, and his improved play has been key in MSU’s recent surge.

[Clarion-Ledger “The Blog”]
Dee Bost’s performance tonight at point guard was spectacular. The guy scored 17, including 13 in the second half. He had three 3-pointers. He played tight defense on Courtney Fortson — even following him over to John Pelphrey when the Arkansas coach called his guard over during a free throw.

“I’ve brought a lot more experienced teams up here than this team, a lot bigger teams. But I don’t think I’ve ever brought a team up in here that played in this building and kept their composure for 40 minutes like this team did.” -Rick Stansbury

[Razorback Central]
Bud Walton Arena started to empty out with 2 minutes, 17 seconds left on the clock Saturday night. A few seconds later, the scene on the Arkansas bench revealed how truly devastating the Razorbacks’ 70-56 loss to Mississippi State felt. Michael Washington sulked in his chair, a towel hanging from his mouth. Courtney Fortson buried his head in his hands. Michael Sanchez stood in shock, his hands propped on top of his head.

From Alabama

[TimesDaily.com]
Wednesday’s matchup (7 p.m.) in Humphrey Coliseum features two teams with contrasting styles. In the past, Mississippi State has been an inside, power-type team but coach Rick Stansbury is now using a four-guard offense bolstered by Jarvis Varnardo in the paint. Alabama features one of the strongest front courts in the league with freshman JaMychael Green, sophomore Justin Knox and juniors Yamene Coleman and Michael Jemison, all of whom are 6-foot-7 or taller.

[montgomeryadvertiser.com]
Perceptions are often reached based on predictions or expectations and Stansbury remains fearful that his four-guard attack will be exposed in tonight’s meeting between the Crimson Tide and the Bulldogs.

On Dee Bost

[NE Miss. Daily Journal]
When Bost came to an MSU camp in June of 2007, Stansbury immediately put the ball in his hands and told him to run the point. Bost inwardly questioned the wisdom of such a move. At Concord, the 6-foot-2, 170-pounder played the four position.  His brother ran the point, and Bost had no ambitions of assuming that role at the next level. However, he quickly took to the role.

[Clarion-Ledger]
Bost, now Mississippi State’s starting point guard, was named the Southeastern Conference’s freshman of the week……..The award for Bost, now known as just “Dee,” came on the heels of his 35 points in State’s two games last week, wins over Western Kentucky and Arkansas. But in that 80-minute span, his greatest contribution was in the final 20 minutes at Arkansas. He scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half, including three momentum-changing 3-pointers and lock-down defense on Arkansas guard Courtney Fortson, to help cement his cause as one of the league’s emerging young guards.

“I was surprised because I wasn’t thinking about getting an award. I just went out there and played. More importantly, we got the win, and that’s all that matters.” –Dee Bost

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MSU Bulldogs Dominate WKU Hilltoppers With The Long Ball

Posted by Kyle Weidie on January 6, 2009

Well, live and die by the three it is…..and the Mississippi State Bulldogs are riding a crest in the 3-point economy.

How much so? Well, the Bulldogs set a team record last night against Western Kentucky for most three-pointers made in a game with 14.

So long to the Hilltoppers and their falling RPI (now at 54), and hello to the momentum building Mississippi State Bulldogs whose RPI has “risen” to 142. That Strength of Schedule is still at 171…..yikes!….I knew that despite the politicking of Rick Stansbury, this year’s schedule was way below par.

[All of this RPI stuff according to this site: RealTimeRPI.com]

Key Game Stats [Box Score]:

  • Offensive Rebounds: WKU 16 – MSU 5
  • 2nd Chance Points: WKU 16 – MSU 4
  • Fast Break Points: WKU 10 – MSU 6

Look, I hate to rain on anyone’s parade, but this Bulldog team will NOT fare well come SEC time being deficient in the categories above, especially the first two. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, second chance points are a killer. Living and dying by the trey ball is one thing, but once you depend on the land beyond the arc, a flat-line will be inevitable at some point.

Game Stories:

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Bulldogs Rebound for Solid Win Against Houston Cougars

Posted by Kyle Weidie on January 3, 2009

First of all, apologies to anyone out there who has been a reader of this blog and has wondered why there has been no posting in over a month. I’m obviously not dead and I’m definitely not abandoning Bulldog Maroon & White. Busy turned into procrastination turned into neglect. But I still love Mississippi State basketball and that passion will keep me writing about the program in whatever capacity I can manage. So, with a nice win for the Bulldogs today, one that I got to watch with my father, there couldn’t be a better time to pick things back up.

So admittedly, with the lack of posting, I’ve only kept up with the Bulldog basketball team in passing recently…..something I hope to change in the ’09.

Losses to Washington State and Texas Tech were understandable, a loss to Charlotte at home was unacceptable, a loss to Cincinnati was embarrassing, and an overtime loss at home to San Diego was a disgrace. But overall, even with a weak schedule, Bulldog fans should not be all that surprised at the current 9-5 record, but should be allowed to be disappointed.

What’s done is done, we all knew we had a young team coming into the season; Stansbury sold us this fact like a desperate Willy Loman. But from here on out, it’s all about how this team grows together, and the framework for potential is evident.

As I understand it, this new four guard lineup has expanded scoring opportunities for Jarvis Varnado, but has left me a skeptic as to how the Bulldogs will fare with the gimmick come SEC time.

For one, many times it forces all five Bulldogs on the court to go for defensive rebounds, and understandably so…..allowing the opponent second chances can be a game killer. However, with all that quickness on the court, MSU cannot get out and run as much with everyone hitting the glass. Trouble with four guards and rebounding was especially evident in the first half against Houston. The game plan of Tom Penders was obviously to have his Cougars to be aggressive on the offensive boards, and it worked. Houston killed Mississippi State to the tune of 16-6 in the first half alone.

However, with Houston missing so many shots, there will clearly be more chances for them to secure offensive rebounds. By my count, the Cougars went 4-24 from the field in the last 10 minutes of the first half.

But in the second half, the Bulldogs did a much better job at securing defensive boards, as Houston continued to be ice cold from the field. Long rebounds allowed the Bulldog guards to run. In the process, the played relatively under control, shared the ball, and did a great job at getting the ball into the post within the first look of the offensive set.

Sharing is caring and 18 assists on 30 Bulldog field goals meant a day of Bulldog domination and reconciliation from a loss to the San Diego Toreros.

Romero Osby

Before all is said and done, Romero Osby will be considered the best player on the court for the Bulldogs (if this isn’t already the case). He can obviously step out and hit the three, but rarely neglects to mix it up in the paint. He rebounds, he takes charges, and he’s down to run (definitely more than Jarvis Varnado). Obsy could stand to work on his left hand a bit, but when conference play begins, he will surely make the case for Rick Stansbury to shy away from the 4-guard lineup as Osby is the perfect PF.

Living & Dying by the Three

Overall, this may be the best outside shooting team that Rick Stansbury has had in his tenure as head honcho…..perhaps more of a reason to set up shop and do some livin’ from long distance. However, for consistent winning efforts in the future, that living needs to be worked from the inside out and not the opposite.

In the first half, the Dawgs did a lot of gunning, and luckily, they were on, hitting 7 of 17 threes attempted (41.2%). The pace slowed down in the second half as the Dawgs only went 4-8 from deep. In addition to Osby, Elgin Bailey and Brian Johnson both did a great job of taking up space down low. Let’s hope they keep on their painter’s cap and maintain the tough work under the rim.

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