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Hey Woody McCorvey, What’s Going On (with the Mississippi State offense)?

Posted by Kyle Weidie on September 14, 2008

Marvin Gaye may have been signing about the issues of his day in “What’s going on?,” but if he saw the Mississippi State-Auburn game on Saturday night, he would’ve shown soulful concern about the Bulldogs offense. People are calling the 3-2 loss historical. I’d agree, but would further categorize it as a tragedy.

I can’t put all the blame on offensive coordinator Woody McCorvery. The Bullldog offensive line was horrific, Wesley Carroll looked inexperienced, and ultimately, a performance such as the one put on by Mississippi State falls on the shoulders of Sylvester Croom.

Before I go any further……Mississippi State Defense = A+^10 – Yep, they were that good. Credit the strength and conditioning coaches too, led by Ben Pollard; the defensive dawgs never gave up. The punt coverage portion of special teams also gets a gold star, punter Blake McAdams did more than his part….can’t exactly say the same for the MSU return team.

I must give credit to the Auburn Tiger defense as well. The Tiger D-Line simply over-powered the Bulldogs’ pass protection. I can’t blame the coaches for trying to be creative play to their o-line weaknesses by having Carroll roll out so much, unfortunate that it was part of the initial game plan.

But even on the run, attempting West Coast dinks and dunks, (many times well short of the first down line on 3rd and whatever) Carroll was limited to bad decisions and the occasional crisp pass when given the chance. Spreading the blame around, however, I saw some less than stellar routes run by Bulldog receivers.

Questionable Calls

4-1, Auburn 37, 10:10 left in the 3rd (start of drive)
I don’t mind going for it here. I don’t even mind the pass attempt (of course the struggling o-line was factored in), but it was simply not a cleanly run play. Brandon Henderson ran a poor route, and Carroll’s timing was off.

4-1, Auburn 41, 7:06 left in the 4th (start of drive)
Well, it was gut check time, and one would expect the Bulldogs to allow for Christian Ducre to pound it through. The players just didn’t make plays, so I still don’t blame the coaching decision.

4-15, MSU 48, 4:48 left in the 4th (start of drive)
This is where i have a problem. I understand that the defense had been on the field a ton at that point of the game. But give them some credit, at least they were playing with the pride it takes to get yet another big stop (they did end up getting the ball back as a gift turnover). I might understand if Mississippi State needed a touchdown for the win, but a field goal sufficing makes punting the right call.

Quotes from the Press

Defense tries, but can’t win all by itself, NE Mississippi Daily Journal – Brad Locke

“We were one play away all night,” said Carroll, who was 10 for 25 for 78 yards and the pick. “We had them where we wanted them. We just didn’t make the play.”

“I don’t blame anybody,” the coach said. “The coaches are coaching hard, the kids are working hard. The thing about offense is, if one guy makes a mistake, you’ve got problems.”

“I thought the ball was slightly under-thrown, and I thought B-Mac should’ve gone up and gotten the ball,” Croom said. “Last week down in end zone he did great job on the fade route. If he goes up to catch the ball, at worst it’s going to be an incomplete pass.”

  1. It’s never good to be “one play away all night,” because all those ‘one plays’ add up to an insurmountable sum.
  2. Don’t blame anybody….blame EVERYbody, except the defense and Blake McAdams.
  3. If Brandon McRae has any next level aspirations, he makes that play.

It’s not the end of the world for the Mississippi State Bulldogs. To sum it up, the offense has hit rock bottom and can only go up from here. Somebody needs to have an intervention with someone in the coming week, if not everyone with themselves. The Dawgs will get a chance to flex their SEC muscle against a weak Georgia Tech team from the questionable ACC….’regroup’ is the word of the day.

Meanwhile, the guys at Track ‘Em Tigers are taking the ‘win is a win’ attitude that I would be having a healthy dose of had the roles been reversed.

Game Recap: mstateathletics.com

Posted in auburn tigers, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa football, sec football, SEC Sports, starkville | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Do The Mississippi State Bulldogs Stand A Chance Against The Auburn Tigers?

Posted by Kyle Weidie on September 11, 2008

First, as we all remember September 11th, 2001 in our own way, including where we were on that tragic day, we should all realize how much our country has changed since, and be thankful for the good that we have in our lives.

Back in ’01, I was still a student at Mississippi State (since graduated in May of ’03). Routinely, I would have the news on in the morning while getting ready for class. That day, the television remained off as I was running late in getting ready for my Market Research class (still was on time though).

As I sat down at my desk, rumors flying around the room about a terrorist attack and the targets which had been hit, especially in Washington, DC, were, as I later came to find out, grossly exaggerated. Being from DC, where friends and family resided, panic immediately set it. I raced home after the teacher excused us, and after multiple attempts with congested lines of communication, I was finally able to confirm that my loved ones were okay.

Sporting events across the nation were postponed, but sports were also part of the recovery process. Mississippi State essentially played in the first major football game post 9/11, a Thursday ESPN matchup versus South Carolina on September 20th. The Bulldogs would go on to lose to the Gamecocks 16-14, but their valiant efforts on the field were part of Americans coming together as a nation to get through adversity.

Now, to this week’s game: do the Mississippi State Bulldogs stand a chance against Auburn?

Coming off last year’s sweep of the state of Alabama, the Tigers will be looking for a bit of revenge. ESPN.com’s Chris Low is predicting a grind-it-out affair, but choses the Tigers to prevail, 21-16.

Danny Sheridan of USAToday.com has Auburn giving State 10 points.

The Mississippi State Sports Blog gives a 17-14 nod to the Bulldogs.

Sylvester Croom will try to avoid Robert Dunn like Devin Hester.

I understand that Tommy Tuberville asserts that this is a different Mississippi State program, and I’d have to agree. We’re observing a team of accountable men under Sylvester Croom, opposed to the team of talented boys under Jackie Sherrill.

However, the loss to Louisiana Tech was a severe blow to my confidence in this year’s team. Not to say that my hope for a winning season and a bowl game is lost, but I had desires that the Bulldogs were done losing to the likes of the Tulanes, Houstons, UABs, and gasp, Maines of the world. Hopes too high? Probably so.

With injuries and an inconsistent, sputtering offense to overcome, I can’t see the Bulldogs beating Auburn this week. Later in the season, when the team has had a chance to gel, maybe so.

I’ll be rooting against my forthcoming prediction while glued to the TV this Saturday. But calling it in print right now, I’ll have to go with Auburn 23 – Mississippi State 9.

Posted in auburn tigers, espn, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa football, sec football, SEC Sports, sylvester croom | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Awesomeness of the ESPN-SEC Deal

Posted by Kyle Weidie on August 26, 2008

Living on the East Coast, my thirst for SEC sports has been left unquenched for years. Unfortunately, I’ve been surrounded by the ACC, Big East, and other coverage of the Big 10 (11), and even Pac-10. Sure there have been options such as the ESPN Game Plan. However, jumping through hoops and having to pay money for easy access to the best conference in college sports seems a tad unjust.

In steps in the worldwide leader in sports, ESPN. Sure, the WWL has a monopolization on sports media coverage and uses that to push their own biased agenda. But there’s no getting around it, they are the best. ESPN gets the top talent, is a leader in media technology, and provides viewers with the essentials of sports analysis.

You can read the full press release from secsports.com, but here are some highlights:

Basketball

  • ESPN and ESPN2 will TRIPLE their coverage. So, not just Super Tuesday, but also Thursday and Saturday games.
  • More prominence for the SEC/Big East Challenge. (Remember how lame it was last year with only four games?)
  • More coverage on ESPNU, ESPN360.com, ESPN Classic (vintage SEC games and instant classics!), and ABC, among the other ESPN outlets.
  • SEC Tournament semifinals and finals nationally televised on ESPN/ABC.

Football

  • ESPN will have the rights to every SEC home game.
  • ESPN and ESPN2 will televise a minimum of 20 games during the season.
  • Supplemental coverage on ESPNU, ESPN Classic, etc.

Other

  • All SEC championship games except football will be aired on either ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN on ABC, ESPNU or ESPN Classic.
  • ESPN and the SEC will work together to offer multi-sport packages (including football, men’s and women’s basketball, Olympic sports and conference championships).

Overall, I could not be more excited. The 15-year, $2.25 billion deal will be quite the economic boon for each member organization. Facilities will improve and recruiting against other conferences will get better, which will lead to trickle-down upgrades for academics.

The Sports Business Journal reports that the current $5.3 million doled out to each of the 12 SEC member schools from television rights could increase over 283% to $15 million per year. Just imagine what this would mean for a school such as Mississippi State, which currently operates with a $32 million athletic budget, the lowest in the conference.

So pop the cork on the champagne, it’s time for a celebration….the Southeastern Conference is coming to ESPN.

Posted in arkansas razorbacks, auburn tigers, espn, florida gators, georgia bulldogs, kentucky wildcats, lsu tigers, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, ncaa football, sec basketball, sec football, SEC Sports, south carolina gamecocks, southeastern conference, tennessee volunteers, vanderbilt commodores | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

MSU Bulldog Football On CBS?

Posted by Kyle Weidie on August 18, 2008

Somehow CBS has accidentally leaked their SEC football broadcast schedule for this upcoming season….not sure why it must be a “leak” or an “accident” – CBS typically doesn’t announce the games they will televise until around 10 days before the match-up.

Nonetheless, Saturdays in the South seems to have stumbled onto something, and Deadspin is trying to confirm.

The Mississippi State Bulldogs only appear once on this supposedly tentative schedule….it’s the November 22nd date with Arkansas in Starkville. The caveat is that Ole Miss @ LSU and Tennessee @ Vanderbilt also appear as televised possibilities on the same date.

Right now, the Bulldogs only have three televised games on the schedule: the August 30 opener at Louisiana Tech (ESPN2) , the September 13 matchup versus Auburn in Starkville (ESPN2), and the November 28 finale against Ole Miss in Oxford (Raycom).

Let’s hope that Miss. State remains relevant up until that second to last game versus Arkansas. It’d be nice for Coach Croom and his Bulldogs to be broadcast into the living rooms of fans and potential recruits alike.

Posted in arkansas razorbacks, auburn tigers, louisiana tech, lsu tigers, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa football, ole miss rebels, sec football, starkville, sylvester croom, tennessee volunteers, vanderbilt commodores | Leave a Comment »

Still Waiting on Mississippi State Basketball Schedule, SEC Slate Out

Posted by Kyle Weidie on August 6, 2008

While the full Bulldog basketball schedule is expected to be released any day and/or minute now, the SEC slate is out and ready to be analyzed.

@ Arkansas – Saturday, Jan. 10

Alabama – Wednesday, Jan. 14

Vanderbilt – Saturday, Jan. 17

@ LSU – Wednesday, Jan. 21

@ Georgia – Saturday, Jan. 24 (ESPN/ESPN2)

Ole Miss – Saturday, Jan. 31 (Raycom)

@ Kentucky – Tuesday, Feb. 3 (Raycom)

Arkansas – Saturday, Feb. 7 (Raycom)

LSU – Wednesday, Feb. 11

@ Auburn – Saturday, Feb. 14

South Carolina – Wednesday, Feb. 18

@ Alabama (Raycom) – Saturday, Feb. 21

@ Tennessee – Wednesday, Feb. 25 (Raycom)

Auburn – Saturday, Feb. 28

Florida – Wednesday, Mar. 4 (Raycom)

@ Ole Miss – Saturday, Mar. 7

At first glance, it’s not too bad. Every game is tough in the SEC, but match-ups with the expected upper echelon teams seem to be evenly dispersed….kinda.

The Run-Down:

  • The Bulldogs open and close the season on the road.
  • The off week comes in week six, after two games on the road (@ LSU and @ UGA), and before a big game at home versus Ole Miss.
  • Senior Night against Florida will be tough (looks like Brian Johnson will be the lone Bulldog honoree).
  • Playing at Ole Miss on their Senior Night will be tougher.
  • Easiest Stretch: Mid-February (Ark., LSU, @ Aub., USC)
  • Roughest Stretch: Last 5 games (@ Bama, @ UT, Aub., UF, @ Ole Miss)
  • Best case scenario prediction: 9-7

Posted in auburn tigers, Bulldog Basketball, mississippi state bulldogs, sec basketball, SEC Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Mississippi State Bulldog Football Overtime

Posted by Kyle Weidie on August 6, 2008

No, this post will not cover the history of Bulldog football over time, rather, the overtime history of Bulldog football.

SECFootballBlogger.com recently posted a YouTube video of the top 5 SEC overtime games of all time. Here’s the list [which looks to be compiled by SECTV, not SECFootballBlogger]:

5. Tennessee vs. LSU 2005
4. Arkansas vs. Ole Miss 2001
3. Georgia vs. Auburn 1996
2. Arkansas vs. Kentucky 2003
1. LSU vs. Kentucky 2007

Which naturally got me wondering about the Bulldogs and overtime. In case you don’t know, the OT rule for the NCAA was implemented in 1996. A list of all NCAA OT games since has been compiled by Dr. Peter A. Rosen and is posted here.

Here are the games in which Mississippi State has been involved:

  • Nov. 23, 1996 – Starkville – MSU 13 – Arkansas 16
  • Oct. 21, 2000 – Baton Rouge – MSU 38 – LSU 45
    (I was at this game, quite the trip.)
  • Nov. 18, 2000 – Starkville – MSU 10 – Arkansas 17
  • Dec. 31, 2000 – Independence Bowl – MSU 43 – Texas A&M 41
    (The Snow Bowl!)
  • Sept. 23, 2006 – Birmingham – MSU 16 – UAB 10

2-3 in all OT games.
0-3 in SEC OT games.
1-3 in regular season OT games.
1- 0 in bowl OT games.

And that’s the history, over time.

On another note, Chris Low (SEC Football Blogger on ESPN.com) puts the Bulldogs at #9 in his SEC Power Rankings, he says:

The first four games are critical for the Bulldogs. They have to find a way to come out of those four at least 3-1. It remains to be seen if Mississippi State has enough offensive playmakers to match last season’s success.

I’d love to be more optimistic, but I think the Dawgs will go 2-2 during the opening four game stretch. Hopefully, Coach Croom’s team will take care of, but not underestimate, Louisiana Tech and Southeastern Louisiana in the first two games. Auburn will be a big test in game three, but at least it’s at home. The wildcard is the game at Georgia Tech on September 20th.

In the USA Today Preseason Coaches Poll, the Bulldogs get six votes among the “others” (essentially ranking MSU 41st in the nation) while Georgia Tech receives two (ranked #50). Even though the matchup is in Atlanta, I suspect the Bulldog faithful will have a strong presence in the ATL. Combine that with general lack of support for the Yellow Jackets makes me revert from my prediction, feeling that 3-1 in the first four games in highly attainable.

GO DAWGS!!

Posted in arkansas razorbacks, auburn tigers, georgia tech, louisiana tech, lsu tigers, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa football, sec football, southeastern louisiana, starkville, sylvester croom | 1 Comment »

Big Game For The Bulldogs, Those Florida Gators

Posted by Kyle Weidie on March 1, 2008

Well, I’ve been out of the country for the past couple of weeks and in the process, missed 3 and 1/2 Mississippi State Bulldog games. I say 3.5 because I was able to catch the first half of the Arkansas game in the airport before I left. I’d say that a 3-1 record is not bad in my absence.

W VS. ARKANSAS
First Half observations: Ravern Johnson is going to be a helluva ball player….evident by the nice dunk he had at the 12:30 mark. Charles Rhodes is an agile big man, with very nice footwork, who has skills which just might translate to the next level, but he will need a good NCAA tournament a la Antonio McDyess for Alabama years ago to really get noticed by NBA scouts. Patrick Beverley made Ben Hansbrough look pretty silly on defense….then again, Beverley is good and Hansbrough is white. The Bulldogs built a 13 point halftime lead despite the usual Jekyll and Hyde act from Jamont Gordon. As for the second half, I caught an update from my father over the phone on my layover in Atlanta….and from the first 60 or so seconds of our conversation, I was under the impression that the Dawgs blew it and lost — only later to get that “a win is a win” relief in finding out that MSU prevailed over Arkansas 80-74 thanks to the strong effort by Charles Rhodes and no thanks to a horrible effort by Jamont Gordon. [game photos from the Clarion-Ledger]

L @ OLE MISS
I initially predicted that the Bulldogs would beat an overrated Rebel squad up in Oxford. They didn’t. Oh well, you can always throw records and theories out in rivalry games such as this. From what I read overseas, it looked like the Dawgs got off to a hot start and were well on their way to routing Ole Miss as they did in Starkville. From the light-hearted nature of the team leaders after the game, maybe they expected to lose. In the end, not being able to stop a freshman point guard (Chris Warren has 22 for OM — not sure who was guarding him) and allowing Dwayne Curtis to dominate the boards with 16 (8 offense) will easily lead to a 74-63 loss to Ole Miss for the MSU Bulldogs, despite Jamont Gordon “limiting” himself to only 4 turnovers.

W (in OT) @ SOUTH CAROLINA
I didn’t read anything about this game except for an email from one of my contacts which pretty much sums it up: I don’t care that we beat USC in OT. Very lucky. Coaching is terrible. Gordon runs wild. Points off turnovers – 26-5 Carolina.” I’ll just go with that “A Win Is A Win” thing again, especially on the road in the SEC. And at least young Ben Hansbrough came through big time in the clutch. Of course, if you go read the Clarion-Ledger or the official MSU site, they will paint the game as pretty picture and a great win. But the fact is that South Carolina is terrible. Right now, they are 12-15 overall and 4-9 in the SEC….a Bulldog team that wants to make noise in the NCAA tournament would have cleaned their clock.

W VS. AUBURN
Auburn is bad too. The Dawgs made them look like a D2 team on the Plains with an 83-64 win back on February 9th. I had a pretty intensive break-down of that Mississippi State-Auburn game on this blog. There was no reason to think that the Dawgs wouldn’t win this one at home on February 27th….they did, 89-78, clinching at least a tie of the SEC West crown. And look! — the team only had 12 total turnovers….Jamont came through with 6 of those 12.

Today’s Game @ The Florida Gators
Here’s where the Mississippi State Bulldogs stand: with a 19-8 overall record and a 10-3 SEC record (and a 41 RPI), the Bulldogs are pretty much a cinch for the NCAA tournament. I think I heard on ESPN this morning that only two SEC teams with 10 conference wins have ever been left out the big tourney (they were talking about Kentucky), but that’s when they played 18 conference games instead of 16. ESPN Bracketology currently has the Dawgs as an 8 seed playing UNLV in Little Rock. Forget playing for the SEC West title, forget playing for higher seeding in the NCAA, forget playing for a chance at the overall, and outright, SEC title……the Bulldogs need to win this one to gain momentum and confidence as a team heading into the SEC conference tournament and the Big Dance. I’ll be heading over to the Crystal City Sports Pub in Alexandria, VA to watch the game and will get an analysis of the game in a subsequent post.

GO DAWGS!

Posted in arkansas razorbacks, auburn tigers, florida gators, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, ole miss rebels, sec basketball, SEC Sports, south carolina gamecocks | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Segmenting The Game: Mississippi State at Auburn

Posted by Kyle Weidie on February 12, 2008

I caught the Mississippi State Bulldogs take on the Auburn Tigers this past Saturday on ESPN360. It was a good win for the Bulldogs on the plains as they routed the Tigers by 19, 83-64. Since MSU does not have a mid-week game this Wednesday, here’s a break-down of the Auburn game in segments.

1st Half

Segment 1
The Bulldogs come out hot in the first four plus minutes and build a 19-4 lead. They easily establish an inside presence with work in the paint. Charles Rhodes shows versatility around the block with 11 points, 5 coming off FTs. Rhodes is definitely displaying a sense of urgency. At the 16:15 mark, he had a monster dunk after he kept his own miss alive with a hustling tip, Hansbrough ended up with the offensive rebound who fed the ball right back to Rhodes. Talk about urgency. Varnado held down the defensive end with a couple blocks and a couple rebounds. Jarvis also looked good scoring the first points of the game with a composed post move. Jamont Gordon is playing like a point guard with 3 assists and 0 turnovers. Gordon has neither scored nor forced the issue. Ben Hansbrough gets into the offense with a wide open three off an out-of-bounds play. Historically, the most successful Mississippi State out-under play is to throw it to a man past half court. Overall the Bulldogs have 8 points in the paint and a 7-0 rebounding edge. Result: +15

Segment 2
Around the 15 minute mark, Jamont Gordon feeds his itch with a three-point attempt, his first shot. If he wants to get going, he should create by powering his way to the basket. The Bulldogs continue to pound it down low as a team. Auburn has no choice but to foul, putting MSU in the bonus with 14.5 minutes left.

Things that are rare: Bulldogs getting what they want on offense and knocking down FTs, a total of 11-11 for the game. MSU team defense involves swarming the ball and getting to all the loose ones; hard work is also evident by the 16-3 rebounding margin. The two studs, Jamont Gordon and Charles Rhodes continue to lead as neither has a turnover so far. Plain and simple, playing this well derives from the stars taking care of the ball. The Bulldogs maintain with a 25-12 lead at the 10 minute mark. Result: -2

Segment 3
As a result of the Bulldogs getting their way inside, Auburn packs in the D. At the 9:30, Frank Tolbert of Auburn threw down a monster dunk…..the result of Jamont Gordon giving him the baseline and the absence of proper help defense. Varnado was close, but wanted to avoid picking up a 3rd foul. After this, Jamont shows the true colors we know with a turnover, his first of the game on a 5 second call. That makes 80 turnovers to Gordon’s 102 assists on the year, not exactly ideal for a starting point guard. Ravern Johnson follows this sequence with a smooth baseline jumper at the 8:30 mark. Ben Hansbrough did a great job of driving the ball right to the SEC logo below the free-throw line, and as the Auburn defense collapsed, Johnson made himself available to receive the pass. The Bulldogs take a 27-14 lead, but good can’t be left alone as Rhodes commits his first turnover, 8 is the team total 12 minutes into the game. With just over 7 minutes left in the first half, Jamont Gordon takes a power drive and hits acrobatic shot, pure strength. Ravern Johnson caps off this segment with an aggressive drive to the hoop. His versatile game makes me feel better about Gordon leaving for the NBA (it’s most likely). The Bulldogs are in the driver’s seat with a 33-17 lead. Result: +3

Segment 4
Auburn’s Frank Tolbert has 6 fingers on each hand, similar to Antonio Alfonseca, a pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies. Not only does Alfonseca have 6 fingers on each hand, but El Pulpo also has 6 toes on each foot. No word on Tolbert’s foot, but Frank does describe himself as “crazy, crazy, crazy” and is damn proud of those extra digits.

Why the Bulldog Basketball future looks bright: 1) Ben Hansbrough can hit crazy fade-away 30 foot three pointers as he spits in the face of mononucleosis. 2) Varnado is beginning to show improved footwork. 3) Barry Stewart didn’t do much in the first half. He hit a 3 on just his second attempt with under 2 minutes left. Still, it was nice to see him splash some water on his face. 4) Riley Benock looks like a smart player and is not afraid to take a charge from the 6’8″ Quan Prowell.

At the half, the Bulldogs lead by 15 despite 12 turnovers. After initially bragging about Gordon’s lack of mistakes, he comes through with 3 turnovers in the final 2:15, 4 total in the game for Jamont.. Does a ticking clock lead to carelessness? Result: -3

Overall, with the 44-29 lead, Mississippi State was more dominant in the paint on both ends. Offensively, they shot 56.5% to Auburn’s 29%, got 14 points in the paint and 7 second chance points. The Bulldogs also lived up to their rebounding reputation besting the Tigers 26-8. The one negative is that the Dogs started settling for perimeter looks after establishing a presence down low. I’ve would’ve like to see them pound it just a little bit more.

2nd Half

Segment 5
The game announcers start the 2 nd half by praising Ben Hansbrough. I agree, he played aggressive, yet composed in the first half. Rhodes also had a nice half, but sometimes, he needs to let the game come to him. He has the tendency to force the action…..case in point as it only takes a minute for him to get a turnover. Still, a decent start to the period for State finds Jamont Gordon bulldogging his way to a lay-up putting MSU up 16, 48-32. Varnado follows with a block, his 5th of the game. He already passed Big Damp’s single season record of 106. I give it to Stansbury, not only can he recruit blue chip talent, but he can also find hidden gems like Jarvis Varnado and Barry Stewart. “Swat” goes on to get a dunk and then makes another aggressive move for a bucket, all within the first 3 minutes. I’ve heard Stansbury say that Varnado has a high basketball IQ; this is evident in the fact his offense has vastly improved, even as this season has progressed. Unfortunately, Auburn is going at him when they have the ball, as the book goes against frail shot blockers, and Jarvis picks up his 4th foul within the first 4 minutes. Still, nothing is going Auburn’s way in contrast to Mississippi State. Result: +2

Segment 6
Gordon starts this segment off with another turnover. He tried to spin without seeing where was going and gave the ball right to DeWayne Reed. Auburn scored in two seconds. Not a minute later, Jamont gets his pocket picked by Frank Tolbert, more Auburn points. Gordon is having trouble protecting the ball by keeping himself between it and his man. The Bulldogs continue to be careless, racking up 19 turnovers, Gordon leading with 7. With three more turnovers and four more assists, Gordon will have a quadruple-double (11 points and 10 rebounds already). I’m kinda pulling for him. Within the first 8.5 minutes of the 2nd half, Auburn is able to cut the Mississippi State lead to 10, 60-50. Result: -8

Segment 7
Gordon finally starts to break the Auburn pressure. Sometimes, as Gilbert Arenas says, you must go right at and through the defenders. Gordon certainly has the body to do it. If you hesitate and try to think, you start making mistakes. Of course upon doing this, Gordon nails a 3. Does he make up for his mistakes? Or do his mistakes offset his success? Nonetheless, Gordon goes on a tear for a 3 minute stretch with 8 points off two 3-pointers and a pair of FTs. I guess 14-15 from the FT line as a team can offset the 20 team turnovers. Auburn has 26 points off the Mississippi State turnovers. The score is 70-52 with 8 minutes left. Could you image if this team didn’t give the ball away so much? Result: +8

Segment 8
Pretty much the end. With 5:30 left the game starts to get physical, on the verge of chippy. To sum up the Auburn crowd: they suck. All you can hear is a couple obscene students with no comedic ability. Jeff Lebo compounds matter when he gets a tech. He had a beef though; Barry Stewart actually did foul Tolbert on the drive in question. Of course, Gordon could not end the game without being lackadaisical in bringing the ball up the court, getting a 10 second call. I’m going to start calling him “Slippery Slope” because once he gets one turnover, it’s almost as if he says ‘eff it’ and opens the flood-gates. Jamont finishes the game with 24 points, 13 rebounds, 8 assists, and 8 turnovers. In the end, business is handled to the tune of 83-64 Bulldogs. That’s 12 out of the last 14 against the Tigers; long time since the dominant days of Chris Porter. I still remember him hitting a 3 from the corner late one MSU home game to seal the deal.

The ‘If you woulda told me that’ Stat: Zero fast break points for the Bulldogs, 12 for the Auburn Tigers.

No getting around the fact that Auburn is just a bad team and the Bulldogs should beat them down. The Tigers have two conference wins, one against a horrendous LSU squad and another versus an over-rated Ole Miss team. They have no depth (also dealing with injuries), no ability to penetration, no inside presence from their bigs, and no shooters.

Good Links:
Box Score from M-State Athletics
Box from ESPN.com
Clarion-Ledger Game Story

Up Next: A big home rematch against Arkansas on Saturday.

Posted in auburn tigers, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, sec basketball, SEC Sports | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »