SadWith the exception of Alabama, MSU is not struggling with any of their SEC West brethren. Just ask Arkansas. State topped the Hogs 67-56, to improve to 13-10 (5-4) on the season. Outside of the 2 whippings by the hands of the Tide, State is a strong 4-0 in divisional play. When the Bulldogs face off with Auburn this Saturday, they'll be riding their 2nd winning streak of the season- in SEC play (first streak consisted of wins @Ole Miss and  against Auburn). Earlier in the week, Riley Benock brought attention to just how important it is to continue to fight and win the 2nd place spot in the West, which could help out a team's chances such as MSU's-in winning the SEC Tourney. A tourney banner would grant State an automatic invitation to the Big Dance come March. Though many such as myself, have all but written off this season and all the embarrassment it has brought, the Dawgs could still make a run. Stansbury's teams of the past, have a niche for under-acheiving during most of the regular season, only to play to their potential in the latter half. Anyway, it's going to take a heck of a lot more wins to change my mind about this team's odds, but I have to give them credit for winning 2 straight without starter Ravern Johnson (Indefinitely Suspended). I think the perfect gauge for this season, awaits State in Lexington next Tuesday night.

I did not see this one, thanks to the fact that this one was only on ESPN3 (for me), so this will not include my usual game breakdown and analysis, since I did not have a visual on what unfolded. But, here's some things I'm wondering about:

(1) Is Sid Buying in to the TEAM Concept?- I know, I know, it's been 2 games. But in those 2 games, Sid has put up 28 pts, 21 Rebs, and 2 Blk. The funny thing is, the kid is so talented, that he could give us 75% a night and dominate. With his height and frame, all he has to do to play average Defense is to get his hands up, move his feet, and use his body. That's all we need him to do on D and that's what he seems to be doing (NOW). I also like the fact that he is taking fewer shots, which means he is trying to be, key word 'trying' to be...less selfish.

(2) Brian Bryant, Better When Not Handling the Ball?- The last 2 games, Brian Bryant has stepped up and shown his ability to create and score. I've been very critical of Bryant's lack of ball-handling skills, but a lot of that has to with Stans relying on BB for that role. Bryant has the ability to score and create, but needs to be freed up from his reserve PG duties. Get the ball down court for him, then work the ball around to him when he is in. Bryant can shoot the ball and I'd like to see him become more of a focus in our Offensewhen he gives Bost a breather. The fact is, our Offense is extremely simple to run and always looks for the open perimeter man, or Sid when he's guarded one on one.

(3) Kodi Must Protect the Basketball-I really like Augustus. I've stood up for him in the past when others have not, but one thing has never changed with Kodi, and that's turnovers. He had '8' last night. Butterfingers, lack of focus, second-guessing himself on passes, you name it, he can't protect the basketball. He has turned the ball over 66 times this season alone. But, Kodi always seems to find a way to contribute. 4-4 from the FT line, 2 Blks, 1 Stl, 9 Rebs, and 2 Asst. Now, if we can just teach him to settle down and not put him in situations where he has to make too many decisions with the ball.

(4) Wendell Lewis' Where Art Thou?- Last night, Lewis had 8 pts, 6 Rebs, and 1 Blk in just 15 minutes of play. The thing is though, he has played major minutes this season and not come away with those numbers. It's time to set the kid up with chances to score, so that he is ready to take the reigns next season. Sid will more than likely be gone, so expecting Lewis to go from a garbage (put-back) points kind of guy to a scorer is an unfair expectation for the youngster. The fact that he doesn't get more looks, is a pure example of the fact that Stans has done nothing to improve the kid's game and prepare him for the bigger stage. Right now, his job is to get tough boards and make the put-back. Dig into this kid's physicality Rick!

Random Notes
-Bost becomes 33rd MSU player with 1,000+ points
-State had a 23-6 run during a 7 min stretch in the 2nd Half.
-State dominated Arkansas 41-28 in Rebounding. What?!?
-State shot 46%, as compared the Hogs' 33%
-Benock, even though he was not expected to play, pitched in 4 pts, 3 Stls, and 3 Rebs in 22 min of play.

TSUN's New Billboards- Hurting More than Helping?
To me, nothing says 'identity crisis' like these signs. They were put up by the Col. Reb Foundation, in order to support the survival of the school's beloved mascot, while trying to kill the possibility of a Black Bear mascot (We can only HOPE). To me, this only hurts TSUN. State and Mullen have signs that promote state 'dominance', while the Rebs, or Bears, seem more concerned with 'defeating' an internal mascot issue. Anyway, I just think it hurts the school, more than it helps it. I myself am a Southerner and dang proud to be one, but this is just another area that screams how 'delicate' of a situation TSUN is in right now. Besides good recruiting, there's not a lot going good for the University of Mississippi right now.

Recruiting Rumors Surrounding Tobias Singleton
Word is, that an Ole Miss Booster accompanied Singleton on his recruiting visit to UCLA. Conflict of interest? Yep. Guess we'll see how that unfolds.

Thoughts on the win vs Arkansas, TSUN's Billboards, and Singleton rumors?