Bulldog Maroon & White

a Mississippi State sports blog

Posts Tagged ‘lsu tigers’

Why The NCAA Would Bring Back The Consolation Game

Posted by Kyle Weidie on October 21, 2008

I’m just getting around to reading John Feinstein’s book, “Last Dance: Behind the Scenes at the Final Four,” given to me by my father this past Christmas. The book was published over two years ago, but contains a ton of great NCAA tournament tid-bits. Feinstein seems to jump around, but the smooth transition between the various stories reads as if you were sitting next to him at the bar talking shop.

One part which recently caught my eye was talk of the consolation game, a match between the two Final Four “losers” for third place. Feinstein recounts the last consolation game played between LSU and Virginia in the 1981 NCAA Tournament played in Philadelphia. LSU, led by shooting guard Howard “Hi-C” Carter and point guard Ethan Martin, fell to Isiah Thomas and the Indiana Hoosiers 67-49 in the semi-finals. On the other side,  North Carolina, featuring Sam Perkins and James Worthy (but pre-Michael Jordan), took down Virginia, led by All-American Jeff Lamp and Naismith Player of the Year, Ralph Sampson, 78-65.

The Hoosiers went on to be national champions, beating the Tar Heels 63-50. Virginia beat LSU 78-74 in the third place game. Both games were played under “eerie” circumstances, as Feinstein describes. March 30, 1981 was also the day that John Hinckley shot President Ronald Reagan. So, not many were in attendance for the LSU-Virginia matchup, and people were unsure if either the consolation or championship games would be played in the first place. But they went on and that was the last time the NCAA had a game for third place in the Big Dance.

I’ve often wondered, with the media coverage (and bracket frenzy) surrounding the NCAA tournament today, why not hold a consolation game? More times than not, it would feature a matchup between young stars that could be billed as ‘Must See TV.’ But what circumvents that possibility is the sensible approach that neither team, or coaches, could muster the will to play after halting to a disappointing stop at the doorstep of a national title.

One could argue that the outcome of a consolation game has much less meaning than even an early season gimme between a D1 powerhouse and a tiny NAIA school…..just ask a 1982 Chaminade team. But what if the consolation game meant something? What if the winner was guaranteed a spot in next year’s tournament?

Of course, this idea could not happen unless the tournament expanded. The tournament committee is not going to subtract from the pool of at-large bids, and the lone play-in game is already controversial enough. I can honestly see the NCAA tourney field expanding within the next 10 years. Perhaps the new deal will involve regular season and tournament champions from each conference getting an automatic ticket, evening the playing field for one-bid conferences.

If the NCAA were ever looking for a way to make even more money off the men’s basketball tournament, which we know they have the propensity to desire, then a championship Monday double header with four teams playing for future hopes and present titles would be the way to go.

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The Maroon & White Squadron Leaves Baton Rouge With A Moral Victory

Posted by Kyle Weidie on September 28, 2008

If you would have told me that Mississippi State would be first on the board against LSU, then I would have politely asked you to kiss some grits that I’d just prepared…..but I’d also warn you that the grits were hot. The game between Mississippi State and LSU certainly didn’t go exactly as expected, in terms of the discrepancy between the scores, but most would agree that the Tigers had the game in hand the whole time.

Considering the conditions in Death Valley, Mississippi State quarterback, Tyson Lee, performed admirably in his first career start. His stats won’t ‘wow’ you (17-26, 175 yards, 1 TD), but the key part is that he managed the game, and that’s what the Bulldogs need most going forward (Lee also did not throw an interception).

Other performance notables include the play of Derek Pegues, on defense and special teams, and senior linebacker Dominic Douglas, who was all over the place. Douglas led the Bulldogs with 11 tackles (1 for a loss, 6 solo, 5 assisted).

No, not every team has a Charles Scott, LSU’s star running back, but the Bulldog defense should be concerned that he was able to dive for additional yardage after initial contact pretty much every time. The offense will need to put in a lot of work in the upcoming off week. Ideally, future game plans will not depend on gimmicks, like running a lot of screen passes, which against LSU, is the engineering equivalent of putting a screen door on a submarine.

So while a moral victory was great, we won’t know if it will have a true positive effect on the team until the games in the coming weeks. Perhaps the fact Tyson Lee is entrenched as the starting quarterback (a safe assumption) will allow Mississippi State to build some consistency. Vanderbilt is up next, and if they can beat Ole Miss, who can beat Florida…..yea, the SEC is tough.

What everyone else is saying:

For certain, the Bulldogs played their most complete game of the year in defeat.
Rick Cleveland, Clarion-Ledger

Well, at least we weren’t completely killed. I think most of us knew going into this game that we weren’t going to win. It is, after all, LSU. They have always had our number. At least we kept the score respectable.
Mississippi State Sports Blog

He had an air of calmness about him, and for the first time, it looked like he was totally confident in everything he was doing. … He played a lot better than I thought he would.
Sylvester Croom on Tyson Lee

The good news:

Punter Blake McAdams is on the Ray Guy Watch List…which is much better than being on the Ray Finkle Watch List.

Posted in bulldog football, lsu tigers, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa football, sec football, SEC Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

If Oregon State Can Beat USC, Anything Can Happen….Such As Mississippi State Covering The Spread Against LSU

Posted by Kyle Weidie on September 27, 2008

On Thursday, the Oregon State Beavers upset the #1 ranked USC Trojans, who were favored to win by about 25 points. Reports indicate that Trojan jocks are much lighter as the national media is no longer riding them. Every Day Should Be Saturday has all the game puns covered.

So with the LSU Tigers favored by 23.5, 24 points over Mississippi State, might the Bulldogs have a chance to win? Uh….they’ll be lucky if they can just cover.

Let’s see, MSU Coach Sylvester Croom is not only saying that he doesn’t know who will start for the Bulldogs at quarterback on Saturday, but that he might play all three on the roster.

The Blog Bag at Inside Mississippi Sports has some hard hitting questions for Croom, but the fact is, only wins can satisfy people, not answers. Speaking of Brad Locke, he’s predicting a 34-10 win for LSU.

The guest LSU blogger at the Mississippi State Sports Blog is picking the Tigers 35-10, or 31-14, while the return favor is calling the loss for the Dawgs, 45-7.

ESPN.com’s Chris Low is predicting 34-7, LSU Tigers.

Personally, I’m not going to make an exact prediction, but rather will guarantee that LSU will score more than 42 and the Bulldogs will score less than 17. So yes, the Tigers will cover the spread. The best news for the Mississippi State Bulldogs is that not many will see their nationally televised game (ESPN2, 7:30 pm), because most will be watching the big Georgia-Alabama game on ESPN at 7:45 pm. Cheers.

Posted in bulldog football, lsu tigers, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa football, sec football, SEC Sports | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Can The Mississippi State Football Season Be Salvaged? The Shellacking at Georgia Tech

Posted by Kyle Weidie on September 21, 2008

Saturday’s 38-7 loss to the Ramblin’ Wreck of Georgia Tech was unquestionably demoralizing for Mississippi State Bulldog fans. I can’t imagine what the players and coaches are going through. Bulldog Coach Sylvester Croom is evaluating himself more than anything else right now.

I can’t exactly pinpoint what went wrong for the Bulldogs, because everything went wrong, aside from a 71 yard run, and an amazing leap over a Tech player by MSU’s Anthony Dixon. The national media is asking ‘what now?’, and I’m personally questioning whether Mississippi State can beat Middle Tennessee (who beat Maryland, who beat Cal, ranked #23 at the time, who beat Michigan State, who beat Notre Dame, who beat Michigan), much less any SEC team on the remaining schedule.

When the Bulldogs chose to defer the ball at the beginning of the game, I thought, ‘Good, let the defense set the tone.’ Unfortunately, the Mississippi State D looked unprepared for Georgia Tech’s triple-option scheme. The Yellow Jackets marched down the field, ignoring the fact that they lost both their starting quarterback, Josh Nesbitt, and starting center on the opening drive. Running on every play, the Tech offensive line was in run-block mode, easily getting a stronger push and giving the Yellow Jacket running backs space to run down hill. The tone of the day was set on those first 11 plays which led to a Tech touchdown.

I remained optimistic when the Dawgs broke the 3rd down seal on their first drive (remember, MSU didn’t convert one 3rd down against Auburn). Then came the ‘are you kidding me?’ moment. How on earth does a snap get hiked 15 feet in the air on the very next play? Was it intended to be a direct snap to the half back?….a sickening blooper nonetheless. MSU Center, JC Brignone, said he “gripped the ball wrong.”

With the gift of great field position to the Yellow Jackets on the Bulldog 40, Tech looked to have superior athletes on offense over the Mississippi State defense. After driving down to the 15-yard line, Georgia Tech had to call a timeout. From there, Mississippi State looked better prepared in stopping a pitch for a loss and putting great pressure on backup Tech QB, Jaybo Shaw. Unfortunately, a pass as Shaw was hit seemed destined to land in the hands of Demaryius Thomas. A lucky play and a 14-0 lead for Georgia Tech just like that.

On the very first play of the next possession for the Bulldogs, Anthony Dixon broke a 71 yard run all the way to the Tech 9-yard line…..a true indicator of a weird game to that juncture of the day. Dixon rushed it to the five on 1st down, Robert Elliott pounded it to the one on 2nd down. But on that play, Coach Croom declined an offsides call, opting for 3rd and goal from the one foot line, rather than 2nd and goal from the 5….bad choice in hindsight. The Rambling Wreck prevailed on the “manhood” issue (as dubbed by television commentator Doc Walker). Mississippi State could not punch it in, and the insult on top of injury was that Adam Carlson’s FG attempt was blocked…this is where I initially lost my cool.

At the beginning of the 2nd quarter, the Bulldogs came up short on another manhood test, losing 7 yards on a 4th and 1 attempt from the Georgia Tech 38. Tech took the field position, drove the ball, and won yet another manhood test on 4th and 3 from the MSU 25. Quarterback Jaybo Shaw then took a sneak 25 yards for a TD, effectively putting the game out of reach before the half…21-0 Georgia Tech.

And when the chips were down, things got worse for the Dawgs. On the next play, Wesley Carroll, on a roll out, had a wide open receiver, but with the pressure coming, he zinged a pass that was too high to catch. The ball was tipped and intercepted by Tech’s Jahi Word-Daniels, giving Tech great field position once again on the State 27.

After a defensive stop, Croom stuck with Carroll at QB. Early in the possession, Anthony Dixon made an amazing, Knowshon Moreno-esque leap over a Georgia Tech player. Carroll actually put together a nice 14 play drive, longest of the day, threatening to score a touchdown before the half…until he threw slightly behind a receiver, who was also unable to time his jump to go after Carroll’s pass. The result was another turnover, a Yellow Jacket interception on the two-yard line, seconds before the end of the 2nd quarter.

With the ball at the beginning of the second half, the Bulldog offense, somewhat similar to the last drive of the first half, show the potential for capability, but could not make the plays that counted towards an ultimate scoring effort.

Then it got ugly….

The first time Georgia Tech touched the ball in the 2nd half (after a Bulldog punt), Jonathan Dwyer ran an 80 yard play for a touchdown. 28-0 Georgia Tech. Mississippi State put the icing on the cake with a personal foul after the touchdown, the culprit was Jessie Bowman.

Enter backup Bulldog QB, Tyson Lee, in a ‘why not?’ moment….two plays for lost yardage, three and out.

The next time Tech’s Jonathan Dwyer touched the ball, he checked off a 37 yard run to the MSU 28. This time, K.J. Wright put the icing on the cake with another personal foul against the Bulldogs after the play….a loss of discipline that I thought died with the Jackie Sherrill era. I suppose when the doors come off, anything can happen. Tech had TD that was negated by a chop block, so they settled for a field goal, 31-0 Yellow Jackets.

My attention was waning by the time Tech made it a 38-0 game on their first drive of the 4th quarter. When the Dawgs finally scored a TD on a sustained drive, it was tainted by a stupid celebration. No, Robert Elliott wasn’t dancing, or doing anything exuberant, but the fact that he did anything at all was bad enough. When down 38-6 (before the extra point), just put the damn ball down and head to the sidelines.

And that was pretty much the end to an ugly day. Tyson Lee did remain in the game for the duration, and even led State on a pride drive with the game clock running down. But on 4th and goal, with seconds left, Lee was heavily pressured and made an idiotic decision to just toss the ball away, which ended up being a fumble.

So where do the Mississippi State Bulldogs go from here? Well, unfortunately to Baton Rouge for a prime-time ESPN2 matchup with the LSU Tigers in Death Valley. Is it possible to salvage the 2008 season, the definition to ‘salvage’ meaning to become bowl eligible with six wins? The prospects don’t exactly look good when the Dawgs seemingly must hope for a moral victory, at best, against LSU.

But aside from the Tigers, looking down the schedule, Alabama is the only team that looks like a top 10 national talent. Tennessee is far from elite and the other games could go either way. But knowing what we know about the season so far, if every aspect of this Bulldog team doesn’t come together expediently, those games will go the wrong way.

Posted in bulldog football, georgia tech, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa football, sec football, SEC Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 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 »

Jamont Gordon: So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, good-bye!

Posted by Kyle Weidie on April 22, 2008

To quote Nino Brown: “See ya, wouldn’t want to be ya.”

Late Monday night, Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports reported that Mississippi State junior Jamont Gordon would declare for the NBA draft and most likely send his official letter to the league on Tuesday. This certainly should come as no surprise to Bulldog fans as Gordon wasn’t on MSU’s Starkville campus attending class for the first couple weeks of April (most likely surpassing his eight unexcused absence limit – but I’m sure a miracle could have been pulled off had he decided to return to school).

What does come as a surprise is that Jamont believes he will be a first round pick. Or at least that’s what he’s been told, by whom I can’t imagine. Gordon has evidently submitted an evaluation request to the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee, which is composed of all 32 NBA General Managers and is chaired by Stu Jackson, the Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations for the league.

Essentially, the Advisory Committee does just that, they provide feedback, or advice, to potential undergraduate entrants to the NBA draft so they can get an idea on their future status before making important decisions such as skipping class or hiring representation. Gordon has stated that he will not sign with an agent in the event that he gets injured during the draft workout process.

About a week ago, LSU fab-freshman, Anthony Randolph, received word from the committee that he would be a lottery pick. He thus hired an agent, former Chicago Bulls point guard B.J. Armstrong, effectively ending his 1-year career at Louisiana State.

There is no question that Jamont Gordon has an NBA body as he is quite the physical specimen. And while he won’t jump out the gym, his 6’4 225 pound size just might instill fear in NFL wide receivers, much less NBA point guards.

Unfortunately, Gordon has a couple factors working heavily against his favor. For one, he currently lacks the competency to efficiently manage a team, even on a college level. His propensity for turning the ball over, to the tune of 4.1 per game during his three year career with the Bulldogs (4.1 TOPG was also his junior year average, good enough for 5th highest in the NCAA), would no doubt be further exposed once faced with the faster, better, stronger defenders of the NBA. Considering that the point guard position is exponentially harder to learn than any other position for NBA newbies, I would find it very hard to believe that a league GM or NBA coach would try to use him as such.

Naturally, the next option would be two-guard, but despite his muscle, jump shooting is not exactly Jamont Gordon’s strong point. Many reports entering this past season indicated that Jamont Gordon spent the entire summer working on his jumper. However, his FG% actually went down between his sophomore and junior campaigns, from 41.9% to 41.5%; the more glaring drop being 3P% which fell from 34.7% to 31.9%. Averaging 17.2 PPG this past season, Gordon certainly burned his share of nets, just not with the efficiency, decision-making, or shot-selection that NBA scouts desire.

On March 29th, I wrote a post analyzing Jamont Gordon’s NBA resume and where the various internet mock-drafts had him being selected. Out of 15 sites surveyed, only two had Gordon being selected in the first round. After a quick check, much of the same holds true today. The two mock drafts which do have Gordon going in the first round are among the lesser-known NBA mock draft sites.

If I had to take a guess, Gordon will stay in the draft and an NBA team will take a chance on him in the 2nd round. However, I do not see him playing himself onto a roster as a result of summer league play. Jamont could go make some decent money playing pro-ball in Europe, or beyond, where the more physical game might be best suited for his style. But I see him using the budding National Basketball Development League (NBDL) to hone his game/pg skills and garner more attention which might allow him to make the jump to the league.

Back to my opening quote, I wish Jamont Gordon the best and certainly hope he represents his Mississippi State basketball experience well in trying to work his way into the first round. However, I would not want to be in his position of having to overcome his own obstacles to get into the territory of guaranteed first round money. Wait, what the hell am I talking about? I’d love to have his talent and a chance at life in the National Basketball Association.

Posted in jamont gordon, mississippi state bulldogs, nba, nba draft, sec basketball | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »