Written by Brett Holloway | 31 March 2011

its-aliveWell guys, just when I thought it was farewell and that the blog was at it's end, I was surprisingly approached by one of your fellow bloggers-about continuing the blog. For those of you who have blogged with us here for awhile, you've come across the name 'Washburn' once or twice. It was indeed Washburn who emailed me on Monday, expressing his interest in authoring the blog from here on out. So, with that said, I'm going to get out of the way and let him have it. He also said that he hopes to get a post up by this weekend so stay tuned, because he might just have something for us Dawgs to gnaw on. We all owe him a BIG thanks for keeping this platform going. I'll let him introduce himself, but I can tell you that he is a ie-hard Bulldog.  

As for me, I can't say thank you enough for yalls' support throughout the past 2 and a half years and for your kind words on Monday and Tuesday. I'm pleased to say that it's not farewell for me after all! I'll be around to post, vent, and share my thoughts just like you guys. I hope that we can continue the same atmosphere that we've built here at All Things Maroon. As for those invites to tailgate gatherings, I hope they are still on?

With that said, I'm stepping aside! Have at it Washburn.

Btw...Go Dawgs!!! Sweep UGA!!! no comments

Written by Brett Holloway | 27 March 2011

rebmaroonWell guys, it's somewhat of a bittersweet day for me.

2 and a half years ago, I set out to provide MSU fans (such as myself) a place where they could voice their opinions about MSU and SEC sports, while at the same time- connecting with those fans. As many of you know, this vision was the result of Gregg Ellis leaving the Daily Journal. Ellis did an amazing job for the Tupelo-based paper and created an environment that was second to none when it came to blogging. People logged on and shared their reactions to games and the most recent story lines, and somewhere in the midst of all his reporting duties and deadlines, Ellis found a way to connect almost individually with his readers. My intentions were nothing more than that. All Things Maroon (in my mind) was to be a platform where we could share insight, vent, celebrate, and connect.

I can't tell yall how much I appreciate your presence on the blog, whether it was back on the old Wordpress website or here on the Bloguin network. You guys were the reason I followed through with the vision and you were also the reason it continued for almost 3 years. Fast forward to today and what the near future holds, and I can't see where I will have the time to continue to devote myself to the blog- as I have in the past. In the fall, my job will become much more demanding and the wife and I are expecting our first little Bulldog on October 9th. Changes are indeed ahead. I figure that now is as good a time as ever to hang things up, before I get caught up in the momentum of Spring Football and all the hype the summer will bring- leading into the 2011 season. So, I'm gonna take this small window of down-time to step away for good. It's gonna be tough, trust me. Just about every week day, I look forward to seeing what's going on with you guys and finding out what yall have to say about MSU and SEC related topics. But as of tomorrow, I'll start missing that interaction.

When I look across the names Buzzard, Carwest, Anderson, Sfwm, JBuzz, Markillas, Jared B, Dawg Pound Rock, More Cowbell, Mathiston, Benza, and all the other names come to mind, it's great to know that each and every one of you guys share the same passion for MSU and SEC sports that I do and that it's people of your caliber that represent the school we all love so much. I'm blessed to have come away from this experience with friends. I can name some of your kids, hometowns, and even pets. We've shared everything from preseason predictions, the birth of our children, prayer requests, extra ticket announcements, political and religious beliefs, and even advice on how to pick out the perfect wedding ring. To me, this has all been special. I appreciate every comment, link, agreement, and even the critcism, corrections, and disagreements. You guys have been awesome. I wish I could continue the blog, but deep down I know that more of my time needs to be spent elsewhere, and that realization makes it easier to walk away.

My wife has been amazing throughout this whole process, allowing me and encouraging me to do this for this long. So, I can't thank her enough.

In closing, I feel that our Athletic Program is in the best hands we could imagine. An absolute professional and diehard Bulldog is our AD, we have the best coach in all of college football leading our team, Cohen is the real deal, and Stansbury...well, I guess he's done something right for the last 13 years. Our university has a BRIGHT future and I'm dang proud to be a Bulldog! 

If you'd like to keep up with me in the future, my email address is jbhollowy@gmail.com (just the way it's spelled). And if you have any interest in continuing this blog as the new author, contact me as well. I guess you'll find me on the Clarion Ledger site from time to time and maybe even on the Daily Journal. If you would like, email me, and who knows, maybe we can still chat about our Dawgs from time to time. I'll leave this post up for a few days, just so everyone can say goodbye and know what's going on.

Once again, I can't thank yall enough. And in the words of MSU's Jack Cristil, "may God's richest blessings be on you and your family." This is Imabulldog (Brett Holloway), signing off.

P.S. - We will see MSU play for a Nat'l Championship in Football and Baseball before we die guys...and most importantly, make sure that everyday, you're GRINDIN' FOR YOUR STATE!

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Written by Brett Holloway | 21 March 2011

mayeWelcome aboard Brandon Maye!

We talked about it last week and today it's a reality. Maye, a 4 year starting LB at Clemson, chose MSU over UK. Here's what Maye had to say about his decision to join Dan Mullen and Co. in Starkville: "I am going to Mississippi State. One of the main reasons I picked Mississippi State was because of their sports administration program. Mississippi State is a place I can go and achieve some things I really want out of life like working in sports when I am done playing football. I really like the campus and the school is not too far from home. I have some personal issues back home that made me consider moving back closer to home and Mississippi State allows me to do that. I really got to know some of the other players when I took my visit and I really liked all of them. I feel like I will fit in well with all of the players. With Coach Mullen there things are really on the upswing. They won nine games last year and we want to build on that this year. It was a real easy decision for me and I am happy about being a part of the program. Tell the Bulldog nation I am excited to be a Bulldog. I am ready to be playing for the SEC Championship this year."

Gotta love the kid's energy and attitude, especially when he is talking about the school we love so much.

Maye is expected to get his shot at the MLB position for State, which would greatly aid a committee of young pups who are expected to step in and contribute as well. Maye could be somewhat of a veteran anchor in the middle-that Bulldog fans have become accustomed to over the past 4 seasons, thanks to names such as Douglas, Chaney, Wright, and White. Maye's presence, would give Bulldogs such as Bohanna, Skinner, Lawrence, and Wilson, a chance to settle into their respective positions and into the rotation, without having to worry about a solid player manning the middle of the field.

As for some background on Maye, here's a little bit of an article I wrote 10 days ago: [Maye played his first 3 years at Clemson, racking up 211 tackles, 5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, and 1 interception. The kid is a natural ball-hawk and would bring a seasoned, experienced veteran to a young group of LBs in Starkville. Maye, who left Clemson due to a lack of playing time, position and coaching changes, is seeking the opportunity to play elsewhere, by enrolling in a graduate program that doesn't currently exist at Clemson. Maye had surgery before the 2010-2011 season, which sidelined him for the first 3 games. By the time he was healed up, Maye racked up 14 tackles in 2 games (7-UNC and 7-Miami), before having just a 3 tackle game vs Maryland. Maye would miss 3 games after the mid season point, but posted 28 tackles during the remainder of the season, in just 4 games that he saw action.]

Can't wait to see this guy in Maroon and White. And, just as I hoped, he will be enrolling during the 1st session of Summer School. Nothing like building relationships, getting in game shape, and learning the playbook earlier on than August.

How BIG of a sign is this for MSU?

What did you guys think of UT firing Pearl? Agree or Disagree with the decision? no comments

Written by Brett Holloway | 20 March 2011

State Takes One from #2 Vandy
Well guys, I sure hope you enjoyed your Spring Break as much as I enjoyed mine...that is, if you had one. Anyway, it was about as boring of a week as possible on the MSU front of things. Basketball has been finished for a while now and the Football team was on their own Spring Break. As for Baseball, what was turning into a very disappointing weekend for the Diamond Dawgs, was somewhat salvaged with a 9-8 Sunday win over #2 Vandy. Friday and Saturday, the Commodores shut out MSU, winning 10-0 and 4-0. On Friday, Kendall Gravemen earned the loss, as State was held to just 4 hits and committed 5 errors, while Vandy's Sonny Gray fanned 10 over 7 innings. On Saturday, MSU's Chris Stratton got his first loss of the season (3-1) and State stranded 7, as Vandy's Garvin held MSU to just 2 hits over 7 innings. Yesterday, State trailed 8-4 in the 8th, but a 5 run inning pushed the Dawgs ahead. CT Bradford, Jarrod Parks, and Adam Frazier pitched in 2 RBIs a piece. Starks, Norris, and Freeman added the other 3 RBIs, as Chad Girodo earned his first win of the season. While many may start grumbling about the opening SEC losses, I think it's a positive thing that MSU cleaned up their play on Saturday and eventually gave Vandy just their 2nd loss of the season. The Dores are #2 and #1 in College Baseball's most respected polls. No doubt that it was a terrible Friday, but I like the progression and finding a way to win on Sunday.

Cowbell Issue Will Be Revisited
MSU AD Scott Stricklin, announced that he will continue to fight for State's most famous tradition. I assume he is campaigning early, considering that Mike Slive initially said last fall, that possible fines would be handed down in June of 2011. One things for sure, this whole issue has done nothing but make the MSU fanbase stronger. The restraint and rules on when the bells can be rang, has improved the atmosphere at Davis Wade Stadium and made it into a very hostile environment. Fans of all ages, have a greater respect for the cowbell than ever before, and we have Scott Stricklin to thank for it all. I know I was one of his biggest opponents, but now, I can see the plan and reasons for his approach and why I was wrong. Stricklin has used the Toomer's Corner incident, as the perfect example of protecting the tradition of a school.
*All of this got me thinking...with all of the possible bad blood between MSU and Auburn over the Cam Newton Scandal, do you think that Stricklin's ties with Auburn and his past there, might possibly keep the Dawgs and Tigers from becoming too heated and becoming an ugly rivalry? Or is the damage done?

Should SEC Basketball Do Away with Divisions?
It's never bothered me, but I guess it would if State were to get screwed out of something because of it, but do you think the divisions need to be done away with when it comes to SEC BBall? I heard more complaining about the divisions and seeding this season, than ever before. Could it improve the national mindset towards the SEC? Birmingham writer Kevin Scarbinsky thinks so: "That historical imbalance alone creates a negative perception toward teams in the West. Instead of getting props for playing in a league with five other quality teams this year, Alabama didn’t get the credit it deserved because it played in a division with five teams that ranged from mediocre to bad. When the SEC West champions don’t get an NCAA bid three times in five years, it’s time to scrap the divisions."
Your thoughts?

Future Dawgs Shine at Mississippi vs Alabama All Star Game
Rodney Hood- 18 pts and 6 Rebs
Deville Smith- 15 pts and 2 Assts
By the way, Stansbury and PG Dee Bost have already said that Smith will step in and immediately handle the PG duties next season. That's the first I've heard of that.

SportsbyBrooks Calls Out Auburn
Brooks simply asked, how did Auburn not see this kind of behavior coming from the 4 arrested Tiger players (armed robbery). The way it looks from these photos, more may be to come. My question is, is that the $$$ that Onterrio McCalebb got paid with for his efforts this season? Photos and Article

Your thoughts on any of these items?
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Written by Brett Holloway | 15 March 2011

Hey guys, want to fill out a bracket?

March Madness begins tonight, as UNC-Asheville takes on Arkansas-Little Rock (5:30)  and UAB faces Clemson (9pm).

Group name: All Things Maroon
Password: godawgs
Our Site's Bracket Page: Link

Hope to see you guys sign up! Slow week here on the blog, stay tuned though.

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Written by Brett Holloway | 13 March 2011

sidWell boys, the 2010-2011 season was one to forget for the Bulldog Nation: early season losses to ESTU, FAU, and Hawaii; the 12,000 mile roller coaster from H-E-Double Hockey Sticks; the brawl seen around the world; And 2 BAD conference losses to Auburn and LSU. Add that all up and you can forget about your name being called on Selection Sunday. With the Big Dance completely out of reach, MSU hoped it might receive an invite from the NIT. But, no call game and rightfully so. The fact is, with the exception of winning 4 of their last 5 going into the SEC Tourney, MSU didn't impress anyone this season. As dark as this season was though, next year is looking bright for MSU. Dee Bost and Brian Bryant are coming back for his Senior season, Jalen Steele andShaun Smith will be sophomores, and John Riek and Wendell Lewis will be Juniors. 3 incoming studs will join the squad soon, in Rodney Hood, Deville Smith, and D.J.  Gardner. Hood is ranked 25thoverall by ESPN, Deville is ranked as the 19th PG in the country, while Gardner is ranked as the 26th SF nationally. The question is, will Renardo Sidney be returning? If so, MSU should be dancing next season.       

Renardo Sidney 'Final Assessment':
One word was enough to describe Sid's 2nd Half performance vs Vandy...UNSTOPPABLE. As for the 1st Half, it was clear (for the first time this year) that Sidney was finally ready to work andbe aggressive on both ends of the court, but after 2 fouls in the first 1:30 he was benched. After sitting the rest of the 1st Half, Sid went on to score 22 pts in just 18 minutes of play. He showed great speed on his spin moves, he was physical in the paint, and showed great touch from 3 pt land. Throw that performance in with what Sid has accomplished over the past few weeks, and it's quite clear that MSU fans have only witnessed the tip of the iceberg-that is Sidney's talent. Many are wondering if he'll come back for his Sophomore season, since after all, his plan was to make Starkville a one year pit stop on his way to the NBA. But, considering all the elements that worked against him this season, there's NO doubt that he could greatly improve his draft stock by staying for one more season at State. He was extremely out of shape, lazy at times, and had one of the worst attitudes that Stansbury has had to manage, but still posted an average of 14 pts, 7 Reb, 1 Blk, and 1 Stl per game. For a more clear breakdown...

*Sidney played in 19 games this season
-4 times he scored 20+pts
-15 times he scored 10+pts
-8 times he scored 15+pts
-In his last 6 games, Sid averaged: 16.8ppg and 8rpg. Keep in mind that those stats were effected by the UT game, in which Sid left the game with a stomach bug after just 10 min of play, scoring 6 points and coming away with 2 rebounds.

(1) Take the name Renardo Sidney and all the drama that accompanied that name during the 2010-2011 season- away from a line that reads 14 ppg and 7 rpg, and what you are left with is a very valuable asset to any team in America. (2) Then take into account that the kid who posted those numbers was one of the Top 5 high school recruits in the country and would have skipped college for the NBA if the regulations still allowed it. (3) Consider the fact that-that same kid posted those numbers while he was 'completely' out of shape. (4) Imagine that same kid 40-50 lbs lighter, with an entire year to reshape his image and remind everyone of his skill set, and what you have is a Top 5 player in the 2012 NBA Draft.

Now, if you paid attention to anything this season, it was hard to miss the fact that Sidney and Bost are very close. To me, knowing that Bost has some experience with testing the NBA waters and the fact that he is coming back for his Senior year, should persuade Sid to stay one more season. Even though Sidney participated in giving the MSU Basketball program a temporary black eye, his return could do a lot for State in the long run. Who knows what doors it might open for top recruits in the future as well. Sidney and Hood are probably 2 of the top talents that State will ever bring in, but who knows, with a little success, you never know. Anyway, as of last night, Sidney posted the following quote on his Facebook page: "YES for all you BULLDOG fans I will attend MSU another yr and I promise to work even harder than I have ever work b4 getting in shape is my main focus… watch out for them DOGS next season!!!

Hats Off to Johnson, Benock, and Augustus on Fine Careers
Ravern Johnson-
1,460 pts, 260- 3 pointers, 37.4% 3 pt Shooter
Riley Benock-382 pts, 102- 3 pointers, 38% 3 pt Shooter
Kodi Augustus-852 pts, 42.9% FG Shooter, 74% FT Shooter

Diamond Dawgs (12-4) Take Series from Sacred Heart
Friday- 5-0, W (Devin Jones)
Saturday- 6-5, W (Stark)
Sunday- 8-3, L (Mitchell)

Other News
Golden Gopher fan punches mascot. Link
4 Auburn players arrested and booted off team. That's 5 in 2 weeks. Real classy! Link

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Written by Brett Holloway | 11 March 2011

vandyI'm too mad to even talk about it...I'll break this one down tomorrow night, as part of my season recap. State had a lot of positives to take away from this one. Too bad the officials had to give Vandy 25 points to help them top State. Everyone talks about Vandy as the underdog in the SEC, but guess what, they only stink in football, so it's ok to hate them. Hang around their fans long enough and you'll see. Anyway, SEC officiating is as BAD as it's ever been. So officials, this ones for you...


Written by Brett Holloway | 10 March 2011

Dee2Well boys, Mullen and the Bulldogs practiced yesterday, and according to the competitive scoring system that Mullen and Matt Balis have set up, the Offense came out on top. The Dawg D was defeated by just 2 points on the day, which Mullen said could have been the result of just a play or two. Apparently the practice was going in the D's favor, until Chris Relf and the Offense stepped it up. Relf, Tyler Russell, Dylan Favre, and Dak Prescott all took some hard hits, even though they were not supposed to see contact. According to Mullen, ball and QB protection won the practice for the Offense. “Yeah, minimal turnovers, minimal sacks. There were some sacks here and there and some protection issues but the quarterbacks did a great job getting the ball out and just being smart. That’s what we need to do on offense.” Favre and Ballard were noted with some strong runs on the day. Just in case you were wondering, DT Fletcher Cox was back at practice today, and K Derek DePasquale handled the PK duties. State will regroup today, before being placed on leave for Spring Break. As for Mullen's other thoughts on practice: “It was a good practice today. It was good to see some guys make some plays. On day-four it starts to get a little bit sloppier because it’s a lot of mental build-up right now. But I was pretty pleased to see the improvement from day-to-day...I feel pretty good. I feel we’ve got a little foundation, we’ve got some work done, we’ve got some things installed. And we’ll let them get a breather, get away a little bit, and come back and review everything that we’ve done for the first couple of days when we come back before we practice.”

SEC Tourney Day 1 Recap
UGATops Auburn (69-51)- Thompkins 22 pts, Leslie 14 pts
Ole Miss Beats USC (66-55)- Warren 20 pts, Henry 14 pts
UTOutlasted Arkansas (74-68)- Harris 20 pts, Goins 12 pts, R. Clarke 18 pts
VandyCruises over LSU (62-50)- Taylor 21 pts, Ezeli & Tinsley- 10 pts

MSU Faces Vandy Tonight (Scouting the Dores)
, who finished 2nd in the SEC West, had a 1st round bie yesterday. State had a shoot around at the Dome on Thursday morning and had practice at Georgia State later in the day. With #24 Vandy's win over LSU, that means MSUwill play the Dores tonight. [(BTW) How did we lose to a team as terrible as LSU?!?] Anyway, Rick Stansbury was approached by Bulldog writers last night before the Dores and Tigers battled it out, and had this to say: “There will be no excuses come Friday. Injuries? Out of shape? Nothing. Hey, you bring your best or you go home and that’s the way it is in one game. We have several guys that have been in this situation for four years and three years, and I’ll just base (it on) what they’ve down in the past — they’ve been pretty good.” State is apparently on the bubble for the NIT, but one things for sure, it's one game at a time for MSU. Stans seems to always earn his money in the SEC Tourney, so let's just hope he does it once again. Here's a look at State's first match up with Vandy earlier this year...

81  MSU  74
-Vanderbilt outscored the Bulldogs 48-37 in the second half.
-Vanderbilt won for the first time in Starkville since 1993.
-Vandy Scorers:
Taylor- 25 pts, Jenkins- 21 pts, Ezeli- 14 pts, Tinsley- 8 pts
-MSU Scorers: Johnson- 19 pts, Bost- 18 pts, Augustus- 10 pts, Lewis & Sid- 6 pts
-MSU led by 9 with 9:21 to play, lost the lead around the 5 min mark, tied it with 3:30 left, and lost by 7.

*Good news for MSU?- Vandy's John Jenkins, who in my opinion is the SEC's best pure shooter, did not see action last night vs LSU. He was listed as questionable before the game (foot), and I think that Kevin Stallings was simply saving Jenkins for the stronger opposition that's ahead. After all, Vandy crushed LSU 90-69 in Baton Rouge just 2 weeks ago, and MSU is clearly a tougher opponent. Why not rest your top guy, especially if he has a nagging injury? The question is, will he see action vs MSU, and how much? A hampered John Jenkins, is a positive for the Bulldogs.

Keys to Victory
-State must be physical on the boards and not allow Vandy too many 2nd chances.
-State must have an inside presence on both ends of the court, or Ezeli, Tchiengang, and Goulbourne will frustrate the Dawgs all night.
-State must not allow Tinsley, Taylor, or Jenkins to sneak around screens and into comfortable shooting opportunities. Vandy leads the SEC with 46% FG shooting.
-State must make their FTs and keep Vandy off the line.
-State needs solid shooting from Bost, Johnson, and Augustus.
-State must cut off the passing lanes. Vandy is an unselfish team, that looks to make the extra pass. They also attack the zone very well, so we must have active defenders in the 2-3, especially on Taylor.

Tonight's Action
UGA vs Bama 12 pm
Ole Miss vs UK  2:30pm
UT vs UF 6:30pm
Vandy vs MSU 9pm

My Round 2 Winners: Bama, UK, UF, and MSU

Thoughts and Comments?

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Written by Brett Holloway | 09 March 2011

BMayeAs you know by now, back up LB Michael Hunt has left the team, and thought that might make some worry even more about our situation at LB, to me it might actually help. Don't get me wrong, it pains any team to lose a reliable, experienced player, but MSU has had their eye on a certain young man for a while now, and apparently he has had his on MSU. His name is Brandon Maye. Maye played his first 3 years at Clemson, racking up 211 tackles, 5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, and 1 interception. The kid is a natural ball-hawk and would bring a seasoned, experienced veteran to a young group of LBs in Starkville. Maye, who left Clemson due to a lack of playing time, position and coaching changes, is seeking the opportunity to play elsewhere, by enrolling in a graduate program that doesn't currently exist at Clemson. Maye had surgery before the 2010-2011 season, which sidelined him for the first 3 games. By the time he was healed up, Maye racked up 14 tackles in 2  games (7-UNC and 7-Miami), before having just a 3 tackle game vs Maryland. Maye would miss 3 games after the mid season point, but posted 28 tackles during the remainder of the season, in just 4 games that he saw action. Ever since making it known that he would be leaving Clemson, a few teams immediately popped on his radar, including the SEC's UK and MSU. That at least has been the story for the past month or so, but Scout reporter Steve Roberson reported this on Sunday: "MSU looks to be the team to beat for Brandon Maye at this point. He and his mother made the trip up to MSU to watch practice and talk with the coaches. Having some other players from his area on the team is very helpful. I am very optimistic about MSU's chances right now." If Maye signs with MSU this Summer, he could play this fall for the Bulldogs. For the record, Mullen addressed Michael Hunt's situation, stating: "Just doesn't like football. Didn't like to play football any more. Lost his love of the game."

Will Brandon Maye be a Bulldog?

Mullen Eyes Johnson
Looks like Mullen likes what he sees in WR Malcom Johnson, and it sounds like the young WR could be a very big piece of the Bulldog offense in the future. The capacity of his role, will be determined by Johnson's understanding within the offense and standing in-in multiple WR sets. Mullen also put Johnson at TE, which within the spread system, doesn't actually a player with the body type of your 'true' TE, but rather as an additional receiver. Mullen on Johnson: "He's really a receiver, but back in the old days there used to be a lot of four-receiver sets, and we'd like to get back to doing more of that, we just need a guy that will know that position when we go to a four-receiver set." State also has Brandon Hill as a firm option at TE, who could earn playing time in rotation with Green and Cook. There's no doubt that the position belongs to Green, but adding multiple looks to the position only helps MSU.

SEC Tourney Starts Today & MSU's Agenda
-Game 1 Aub vs UGA
-Game 2 TSUN vs USC
-Game 3  UT vs Ark
-Game 4 LSU vs Vandy
Bies-Bama, MSU, UK, UF

MSU plays at 8 on Friday night vs the LSU/Vandy winner. State will play at 2:30 on Saturday, if they advance past their first foe. As for the 1st Round, I'm going with UGA, TSUN, UT, and Vandy as my winners. As for MSU, many are wondering how Renardo Sidney will weather the SEC weekend, which could include 3 games over 3 days, if the Dawgs make a run. After all, Sid's conditioning has been in question since day one, but he has improved in that area. As for what Sid thinks: "I'm taking this whole week to push myself harder than I've pushed myself, because I know they're going to need me in the long run. I'm just looking forward to playing in the SEC Tournament."

Who ya got in round one?

Who's your pick to win it all?

What chances do you give State? I'm going as high as a 60% chance. We always play well in the Tourney.

Bulldogs Invited to NY Next Season
MSU better not get too rusty during the off season, because it appears that they will be headed to Madison Square Garden for the Coaches vs Cancer 2KSports Tourney in November. Arizona, aTm, and St. John's have also been invited. I myself, am just happy to see us upgrade our strength of schedule, which has looked like TSUN's football schedule over the past few years. One things for sure, we'll find out what next season's team is made of- very early on. By the way, St. John's is my dark-horse in this season's tourney...like the Johnies!

Mullen Gets Pay Raise for His Assistants
-Def. Coordinator Chris Wilson (+$60,000) $300,000
-Co Def. Coordinator Geoff Collins $280,000
-New WR's Coach Angelo Mirando $75,000
-Mullen will now make $2.65 Million per yr
-I shoulda went into coaching...

Your thoughts & comments? no comments

Written by Brett Holloway | 06 March 2011

kodiWell guys, if you are having the kind of season that MSU has had, winning 4 of your last 5 is a solid way to head into your conference tournament. State capped of the 2010-2011 regular season, with a 60-58 victory over the USC Gamecocks on Saturday. State's Kodi Agustus nailed a fade away shot with 30 seconds to play, but that was only the beginning of the drama. Bulldog coach Rick Stansbury, was whistled for a technical due to his presence on the playing surface (actually in the paint), immediately after Augustus' eventual, game winning shot. Stansbury was trying to call the timeout in order to set up his defense for the final half minute of play, but because the official did not 'appear' to see Stans until he was 'completely' within the field of play, the veteran coach was awarded with the worst possible scenario. Augustus' shot put State up 59-56, but USC made their 2 technical FTs, and had possession with 26 seconds left. Long story short, solid D from MSU would result in two missed 3 pointers by SC's Bruce Ellington (one as time expired), and Dee Bost would make 1 of 2 FTs to give MSU a 2 point, final advantage.

With the SEC Tourney's bracket set, State is scheduled to play the winner of LSU and Vandy on Friday night, at 8pm. Brad Locke posted an interesting stat, that MSU is 5-2 on the year vs teams in their half of the bracket. Those 2 losses include a loss to UK and a 2 point loss to LSU at home. Anyway, that's for next weekend, here's my game notes from Saturday...

The Bad
State Continues to Play to the Level of their Opponent-
One staple of Stansbury's teams, is this very fact. We play the UFs, UKs, and UTs of the world and we either win or we can look back at the fact that we should have. You see, we beat UF and UT, had Vandy by 7, and had UK by 11. On the other end of the spectrum, State struggled with LSU (1 pt win and a 2 point loss after leading by 14) and Auburn (won first meeting, lost second meeting after losing a 19 pt lead). I'm ready for this kind of play to stop, which does nothing but prove my point that MSU-throughout the Stans' era, has played below their abilities, but never above their head. State held USC at arm's length on Saturday, but eventually, when street ball doesn't work out a few trips down the court, then you have yourself a ball game. State almost slipped up.

Stans' Failure to Adjust/ Must Push Sidney for More- Coming down the home stretch here, Stansbury has to step his coaching up. The good thing for MSU, is that he usually does this time of year. But, with that said, we didn't really make the proper adjustments to USC's zone, which they were in the entire game. We did have the occasional play where a Bulldog such as Kodi or Ray would locate themselves around the FT line and create opportunities, but our inside game was non-existent. Stans has to find ways to make Sid WORK for the ball and post up his opponents. We won't make it far in the Tourney, if Sidney isn't making a statement in the paint. I know he came away with 13 pts, but we all know that those were not same type of points that Varnado came away with last season. A strong inside presence, will only help our outside shooting, but walking around in the paint and never demanding the ball or giving our perimeter guys something to pass to, makes us one dimensional.  As for the defensive end, Stans made ZERO adjustments to stop USC from driving the ball into the paint and creating. Multiple Gamecock players found the paint and either scored or dished to an open man, and MSU didn't make that look like a difficult feat. Playing solid teams in the tourney, who ALL have solid guard play, will cost State problems if Stans doesn't adjust.

C'mon Dee!- Where's our PG? I know Bost has battled injuries over the past month, but we need him...it's March after all. Bost is just 5 of 18 from the field, 1 of 9 from 3, and has 17 points combined in the last 2 games. Dee has missed some FTs in the last 2 games as well, FTs that could have sealed up the games. On a positive note, Bost has a 18:8 Assist:turnover ratio during that span. Dee has the tendency at times to only insert himself in the action when he's needed, but must contribute regardless of the circumstances here in March. We need ya Dee!

The Good
Ravern Johnson is SOLID- I mentioned it last week, that MSU's performance and chances of winning games, comes down to Ray's play. 21 pts, 7-14 from 3, 6 Reb, 2 Ast, and 2 Stl resulted in quite a way to close out your final game in the HUMP. The fact is, he's become a better player and leader since the Twitter incident. He could be HUGE for us in Atlanta, because he is heating up at the right time.

Kodi's Clutch in March- For some reason, March brings out the best in Augustus. When he was younger, he was the rebel who underachieved and only showed us glimpses of what he could pitch in. But, come Tourney time, Kodi would separate himself from the rest and lead the team in scoring and rebounding. He had 23 at Arkansas last week and 15 on his Senior Day. Throw in 10 rebounds and a block, and it's clear the type of player that Kodi has become. Will we see the same Augustus that we've seen in the past-come next week?

Stansbury Regains Control- As much grief as I've given Stans over the season, I have to admire his ability to hold things together, even when it looked like he had NO control. From the early season losses to mid-majors, to the Hawaiian Punch, to Ray and Sid's Twitter outburst, somehow he managed to win 17 games and earn a 2nd place finish in the West. Now, did this team underachieve? Yep. Did they embarrass us? Yep. Does Stans lack institutional control to an extent? Yep. But, like I said, somehow we are where we are, even though it's not where we want to be. The black eye for the program is blue now and some in the national media are clearing the cloud of criticism over MSU. I'm still not pleased with our full body of work, but even critics such as myself are seeing that Stans has done pretty good considering the circumstances. Not great, good. 

Johnson- 21 and 6, 2 Steals
Augustus- 15 and 10, 1 Block
Sidney- 13 and 12
Bost- 8 and 3, 2 Steals, 2 Blocks, 8 Assists  

Diamond Dawgs Split the Weekend
Well, 3 days of dodging weather, saw State finish the weekend at 2-2. MSU lost to Iowa twice (5-3,7-6), but had no problems with Georgia State (8-1, 7-3). State was held off by Iowa in both losses, who stopped 2 strong MSU rallies in the final innings. State is now 10-3 on the young season and I have to admit that I like what I'm seeing. State has had some good competition early on, the Dawgs are swinging the bats well and the pitching is quite there, but I feel it will be in a few weeks. One thing that I'm most excited about is cleaning up the play in the field, but State did have 3 errors on the weekend and they were all in the 2nd loss to Iowa. SEC play starts in 2 weeks in Nashville, when State takes on Vandy.

Dawgs Put the Pads On!
It's that time of year again. The easy stuff is behind them, now it's time to literally knock the rust off. Mullen has been pleased with the effort and practices thus far, but in all honesty, you can't tell much til you strap it up. “They look pretty good, I guess. We don’t have any pads on yet so I don’t know. It’s not real hard to look good in shorts, I could put one of you guys in shorts and run them around and be feeling pretty good!” Mullen and the Dawgs did focus on passing in Saturday's practice: "It was a lot of passing. It doesn’t do much without being in pads the first two days to do any physical inside-run. So a lot of our focus, and we really started that last spring, is to get into a pass emphasis in early practices.” Saturday, Mullen said that this is what can be expected during this week's sessions: “We’re going to be pretty physical next week, we get to go pads so that will be pretty physical practices. And it will be a lot more emphasis on first down and run because we’ve gotten a lot of emphasis the first two days of pass.”

Thoughts and Comments?

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