Bud Walton Arena used to be a place of horrors for MSU Basketball teams of the past, but 3of the last 4 visits for the Bulldogs have turned out quite nice. State rode the hot shooting of Ravern Johnson and Kodi Augustus, made their FT's, and protected the basketball, on their way to a 88-78 win over Arkansas. The Bulldogs trailed the Hogs by 4 at the half, 39-35, but outscored the home team 53-39 in the 2nd Half. Both teams traded punches throughout the early part of the 2nd period, but shortly after Arkansas claimed a 60-58 lead, MSU caught fire on a 15-3run. Augustus led the charge during that stretch, and posted 21 of his 23 points in the final 20 minutes. Ravern Johnson scored a team high 25, hitting 5 of 8 shots from 3. Renardo Sidney, who has the ability to fade into the background at times, came away with a quiet 14 and 7. Only 3 Dawgs scored in double figures, but Riley Benock- 8 pts, Dee Bost- 9, and Brian Bryant-8, were within reach. Last night's win sealed a 2nd Place SEC West finish for MSU and capped off a season sweep of the Hogs.
Not much else to talk about here, especially on a night when MSU did almost everything right, topping Arkansas in just about every stat column. The only area that the Hogs topped the Dawgs was in 3 pt Shooting. Here's the breakdown...
FG%: MSU 49% Ark 45%
3 Pt %: Ark 50% MSU 40%
FT %: MSU 80% Ark 75%
Reb: MSU 31 Ark 29
Ast: MSU 15 Ark 14
Stl: MSU 6 Ark 4
Turnovers: MSU 8 Ark 12
A team who has lacked character throughout the season, has come away with 2 HUGE road wins, and has earned their much needed bye in the SEC Tourney. This is the type of play that I am happy with, mainly because we could have been playing this way ALL ALONG. Let's just hope we can make a run in Atlanta. 2011 SEC Tournament Champions has a nice ring to it.
Mullen Ready for Spring Ball, Roster Update, TSUN Quip
-Chad Bumphis is "full go" according to Mullen.
-Big James Carmon, who played DT last season, has been moved to LT on the O-Line
-Tobias Smith will not participate in Spring Ball (s-houlder surgery).
-The QB race will be "wide-open" according to Mullen.
-TE Marcus Green, OL Sam Watts,and DL Curtis Virges will be 'limited'.
-Mullen has complete confidence in his new coaches, Angelo Mirando (New WR Coach) and Geoff Collins (New Co-Def. Coordinator)
-Mullen: "Not seeing Pernell McPhee, K.J. Wright and Chris White are going to have me a lot more concerned than any lack of coaches or different coaches out there on the field."
-Mullen's reaction to TSUN's new Egg Bowl banner: “That’s kind of cool for them. We actually have a trophy that’s ours. We didn’t need the banner this year.”
Have I mentioned that I have a man-crush on our Football Coach. Gotta love Dan! Well, unless you are a member of TSUN's camp...a sad camp, I might add. That shows you right there that Boone has turned up the heat on Nutt's seat. TSUN has tried to act as if the Egg and the rivalry hasn't mattered the past 4 or 5 years, but now it's the 800 lb gorilla in the middle of the room and it's staring right at Nutt. Eat it Houston! That poster, will be in the garbage can that's in the background of the picture, after this season's whoopin'.
New Bulldog Announcer?
Buzzard brought it up last night, as to WHO should be MSU's newest announcer? Jim Ellis, Steve Ellis, Bart Gregory, and Matt Wyatt are some of the options. I myself would like to see Matt Wyatt become the newest addition. Matt has great insight, can break an entire game or play down for you, and has a passion for MSU sports. Gregory does a good job, but I look for Jim Ellis to retain his post on all 3 sports. Your thoughts here?
Is MSU's Basketball Team a legit contender for the SEC Tourney?
How about those Black Uniforms? Sweet!
Your thoughts on Spring Football?
Earlier this week, SportsbyBrooks reported that what's becoming known as the Newton Tapes, had evidence that Cam Newton was in the room when his father was shopping him to MSU, UT, and Auburn. Now the plot thickens, Brooks reported last night that the Tapes actually do NOT have evidence that Cam was present while his dad solicited money. In fact, many are starting to wonder if Scott Moore, who is the sports-talk radio guy in Hunstville (97.9 FM) -who supposedly has access to all of these tapes and other evidence such as text messages, is even being truthful. In other words, Moore is currently making the rounds on talk shows claiming to have it all, such as: Cecil Newton, on tape, listing standing offers from UT and Auburn for Cam's services; Text messages including the same incriminating evidence; Kenny Rogers and Newton's dealings, in text and audio. Anyway, the fact is, all that actually exist as of right now, is the lone voice messages from Rogers, that contained much of this same information. But, as far as any evidence that contain Newton's voice or texts, have yet to be brought to the light. Still, Scott Moore says he has it all. Here's some quotes over the last week, up until yesterday (All quotes from SportsbyBrooks.com):
“Is Cecil Newton shopping his son around on these tapes? The answer to that is, yeah, he is...Cecil said that there are offers from Tennessee on there (on the tapes) and offers from Auburn. That’s according to Cecil Newton."
“Cecil’s shopping him around, and the sentiment there is, I believe we’ll be able to show and prove that Cam knew what was going on."
“What I’ve said is true, the tapes exist of Cecil shopping him around.”
"The bottom line is these numbers that we keep hearing about — this $150,000 offer from Tennessee, this $180,000 from Auburn — those came from Cecil Newton (to Rogers on the tapes). They didn’t come from Auburn or Tennessee, they came from Cecil Newton. He’s the one that said these offers were made to him."
“What I’ve heard is offers...(Newton) saying on these tapes that these offers were from Tennessee for $150,000 and a $180,000 offer from Auburn. I heard him say that, I’ve seen the text messages. And they exist, that’s the bottom line.”"The bottom line is John (Bond) shared some of the information on these tapes all the way back in October. He also made it available to the NCAA that Bill Bell had tapes as well."
"It’s audio and it’s also in text message form as well. The people that made these tapes, they wanted to make sure and get clarification on both ends. We’re talking about not one or two tapes here, there’s quite a few from several different people."
Anyway, you can't help but wonder what the truth is. I just don't see why a person with a reputation to uphold, such as a sports-talk radio guy, would put himself out there-claiming to know a whole lot more than anyone else at this point, would act this confident if he didn't have the evidence. I guess we will see. One things for sure, I'm ready for the release of all this evidence, which is supposed to be coming soon.
Your thoughts and comments? Is Scott Moore reliable?
Bulldogs vs Hogs Fight for 2nd Place
Well boys, State can win the 2nd place spot in the SEC West, with a win over Arkansas tonight. There are a number of tie-breaker scenarios that have been released, but to make things go as smooth as possible, MSU just needs to beat the Hogs tonight. After that, they can even lose to USC and be fine on Saturday. The 2nd place finish, would give state the West's 2nd seed in the Tourney and award State with a much needed bye. They would play the winner of Auburn and either UGA or UK. The bye would be nice, but State's record vs those 3 teams...1-3. State will have to keep Rotnei Clarke from getting hot, but always seem to contain him better than any other SEC team. Clarke is shooting 43% from 3 and averages 14.4 ppg.
Go Dawgs! Wrap it up no comments
Jack Cristil, Strong to the Very End- First of all, I can't say how grateful I am to this Bulldog team, for allowing Cristil to "wrap" his final game "in maroon and white!" Dee Bost said himself, that State was "fighting for Jack", and fight they did. And as they scrapped and clawed, Jack did what he has done for the past 58 years, in providing valuable insight- up until the final possessions. Thanks for your service Jack, you are TRUE MAROON!
MSU Wins Without Sidney- Just a few weeks ago, you never would have heard me say that State actually needed Renardo Sidney to win ball games. Shug faced some harsh and somewhat deserving criticism from the national media after his poor performance vs UK. But, ever since then, Sidney has provided MSU fans with a glimpse of what we all expected and what he is capable of doing on a nightly basis. After a 22 and 12 outing vs TSUN, Sid added a 24 and 8 performance vs LSU. He's added better conditioning, stronger defense, and physical rebounding to his resume', which has State fans such as myself, believing that he has finally bought in to the Team concept. Add all this improvement up, and you get WHY I feel Sidney's presence and performance is key to the Dawgs' success. Even though he was hindered Saturday by a hurt toe and a stomach bug, Shug added 6 pts, 2 Reb, and 1 Blk in just 10 minutes of play. I was shocked that we survived in Knoxville, especially since we were without our true big man for 30 of 40 minutes. Now that Sid has stepped it up, he may help MSU make a run in Atlanta.
Unusual Suspects- It seems that ever since I grilled Brian Bryant a short time ago, he has stepped up his play. His ball handling has improved, the kid can score if he needs to, and the kid can rebound with the best of them. BB had 8 pts, 4 Reb, 3 Ast, and 1 Stl in 19 minutes on Saturday. 2 of those 4 Rebs were on the offensive end and Bryant's floater with just over a minute to play, was one of the biggest shots of the day for State. Wendell Lewis, has earned his share of quality minutes this season, and played all but 6 of Sidney's 30 minute absence. Little did Lewis or anyone else know, that he would end up with the game winning dunk, but nonetheless he did. Lewis played as solid as he had all year, posting 7 pts, 8 Reb (5 on offense), 2 Stl, and 3 Blk. The development of these two players and their ability to contribute, might have a lot to say about State's performance in Atlanta and in 2012. Both players are somewhat raw, but could provide MSU with more weapons going forward. And Lews' dunk, by far the play of the year for MSU.
Bost, Augustus, and Johnson Show Maturity- Though at times these 3 may lack consistency, when they click and find ways to score, it's fun to watch. Dee Bost had a poor shooting night (5-17), but when your PG gives you 10 Ast, he's doing his job. Not only that, but no matter what fate the rim offers him, Bost almost always finds ways to find the scoring column (14 pts). Kodi Augustus hit all of his 3 point attempts in the 2nd half, and finished with 15 points, 10 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, and 1 Blk. Though Kodi's strength is in the mid-range game, when he is 'on' from behind the arc, he can silently put State on a run. As for Ravern Johnson, in my mind he has made up for the Twitter incident, and turned into a leader on the court. It's clear to see that he has earned the teams' respect again, and can hit big shots under pressure. Since coming back from his suspension, Ray has posted games of 21, 16, 15, and 20 points. The latter was a team high this past Saturday at UT.
What Could Have Been in 2011
Basketball season always comes down to me having to say this, but oh well, here we go again. No one here on the blog really disagrees with me about Stans, so I'm pleased that I don't have to persuade the brainwashed on my own site. But to those who would continue to stand behind Stansbury and ignore the obvious, this is for you. I've always stressed the importance of winning your non-conference games, because come March, they can come back to haunt you. How big are those losses to FAU, ESTU, WSU, and Hawaii now? I'll surrender the losses to VT and St. Mary's, but outside of that, you can't lose the other games. Then when you look at the conference slate, how different does the season look when you don't lose a 19 pt lead to Auburn, a 14 pt lead to LSU, and an 11 pt lead at UK? What if we take at least 1 from Bama and don't get drilled at UGA? Instead, here were are again, fighting for a spark and new life going into the SEC Tourney, when we could already have an invite to the Big Dance, regardless of our performance in Atlanta. I'm just wondering when MSU Basketball fans are going to take on a Mullen-type identity and approach when it comes to refusing to accept mediocrity.
Anyway, your thoughts and comments?
Btw, State and Arkansas for the West's 2nd seed tomorrow night. no comments
There's hardly a voice in all of broadcasting, that's as recognizable as Jack Cristil's. In fact, it's probably easier for MSU fans to find their game on the radio, than any other fanbase in the country. Our fathers and grandfathers, introduced us to Jack at a young age, by recalling some of their favorite Bulldog memories- the way that Cristil described it to them. Whether it was Bama fumbling on the goal line, a last second 3 by Timmy Bowers, or a Gator Bowl victory over Michigan, we all have memories tucked away, painted in Jack's descriptions.
My father, who did Meridian High and West Alabama Football on the radio for 15 years, once had the opportunity to sit in the boot and observe Jack during a game back in the 80's. I myself, always wondered if announcers were natural fans of the school they called games for, or if they just did it because it was their job. But my dad's account of that day, left no doubt in his mind that Jack was indeed a TRUE Bulldog. My dad recalls: "On the opening kickoff, Tulane's kicker started the game with a poor kick and State's return man had the option to either let the ball bounce out of bounds along the sideline, or to pick it up and run it. The player clearly had time to let the ball go out of bounds, which would have awarded MSU with great field position, but he instead picked the ball up around the 5 yard line and ran directly out of bounds. Jack, immediately stood up and simultaneously kicked his chair into the wall behind him, without ever missing a beat." There's no doubt that Mr. Cristil always gave us as honest of an account as possible, without sounding terribly biased.
As I mentioned yesterday, Jack has called MSU football games since the 1953 season and basketball since the '57 season. During that time, 6 decades, 12 football coaches, and over 2,000+ football and basketball games have come and gone. I can't tell you how many times-when listening to Jack, that I have closed my eyes and let his words paint the scene on the field or on the court. To endure what he was witnessed over the past 58 years, as a fan and announcer of MSU sports, Jack Crisitl is and will forever be, TRUE Maroon.
After the LSU game on Wednesday night, Cristil made the Bulldog Nation aware of his plans to retire, which will become a reality at the end of the UT game on Saturday. In that announcement, Cristil seemed to ask the MSU fanbase to forgive him for stepping away, with the utmost sincerity. Jack closed by saying that his 58 years as the Bulldogs' announcer, was "a genuine pleasure." The fact is Jack, it's been a pleasure to have you serving our university for all these years. Jim Ellis, who has served in the booth beside Cristil for the past 30+ years, said it best: "What Jack is, is radio when radio was what people listened to. It's the TV age now. From the '50s probably through the mid-80s, Mississippi State didn't have any games on TV. And he was the story. He told the Mississippi State story, and that's what people heard."
Cristil is calling it quits due to his Dr.'s orders. Apparently his kidneys are functioning at around 10%, and Jack will have to undergo dialysis. I do pray for Jack's health and a healthy mind. He shared this about his life going forward: "I don't think I'm afraid. I guess probably the lonesomest I've been is when Mavis (his wife) first died. We knew it was coming, she'd been in the hospital for 77 days. For a lengthy period of time there, I was really lost. I may be in the same situation mentally, I don't know. I can find something to occupy my time; that's probably what I'll have to do."
Jack was also asked about his successor: "They can look the world over, they won't find anybody better than Jim. If I was making the hire, there wouldn't be but one interview. 'Jim, how much do you want? How much do I have to pay you, and when do you want to start?'"
We love you Jack and wish you the best. I personally can't wait to see a Jack Cristil banner in the Hump and a section of Davis Wade dedicated to his life's work. Hopefully MSU can give Jack the opportunity to "Wrap it in Maroon and White!"
State takes on the UT Vols on Saturday at 5 pm. UT is fresh off a big comeback win vs Vandy. The game will be on ESPN, but the sound on the tube will be turned down. I'll be listening to Jack as I watch.
In Baseball, the Diamond Dawgs will host Belmont for a 3 game series this weekend.
Short and sweet, here we go.
For the last couple of years, people have criticized me for being too critical of Rick Stansbury.
Any comments from his defenders after last night's game?
You see, I'm not one to blame our weak FT shooting for our loss (especially Sidney's), nor will I blame Riley Benock for his miss at the end, but Stansbury's defenders will. I myself, look at the very fact that Stansbury got out-coached and out-played by LSU. You know, the team who NOW has 3 SEC wins and 11 overall? To make it worse, how do you lose at HOME to that same team, when you shoot 56% from the floor and 52% from 3? And I don't care if it was in the 1st Half or not, how do you lose a 13 point lead? How do you not get your team focused and keep them focused throughout the game? Where's the inspiration? How do you let LSU score 70 points (hadn't since December, in non-conference play)?
The fact is, it's time for the remaining 20% of MSU fans who still believe in Stansbury to wake up. Not only that, but how can fanbase who has had their expectations and mindset completely transformed by Dan Mullen, continue to look past Stansbury's continued mediocrity? Mullen's Bulldog Creed is "I will give relentless effort", which not only applies to the players, but to the coaches as well. Neither Stansbury or his team has lived up to the motto. Even in the past, we have continuously underachieved and failed to make progress on the national level.
Those of you who want Stansbury can have him. As for me, I'll be pulling for my Bulldogs the same way I always do, but not for Rick. Thanks for all you have given to MSU, but I'm done with you.
I'm not even breaking this one down. Pitiful. I do think Sidney , Johnson, and Augustus played well, and I wish my boy Jalen Steele a speedy recovery.
Jack Cristil Retiring
In more important news, a MSU legend is stepping down after 58 years in the booth. Jack Cristil, has called MSU football games since the 1953 season and basketball since the '57 season. During that time, 6 decades, 12 football coaches, and over 2,000+ football and basketball games have come and gone. I can't tell you how many times-when listening to Jack, that I have closed my eyes and let his words paint the scene on the field or on the court. Cristil is stepping down due to health issues and as of last night, has called the last game of his career.
More on Jack soon, we will have a day just for him here on the site.
Sorry guys, just fed up. That's all I got.
I'd like to kick of Wednesday by sending out a big thank you to South Carolina, for taking care of TSUN last night. That loss for the Rebs only helps MSU's chances to claim the 2nd seed in the SEC West, which could fuel yet another strong Bulldog run in the SEC Tourney.
Also, a big thanks to Lamar. Why? Lamar topped #18 Rice yesterday, which makes the Diamond Dawgs' 5-0 start look even better. State went 2-0 against the school this past weekend (17-2, 2-0).
Congratulations to MSU's school paper, The Reflector. The newspaper was named the #2 College Newspaper in the South, behind only Bama's. Thought TSUN was the one known for journalism? All joking aside, major props to the paper.
Tonight, State takes on the LSU Tigers. The Bayou Bengals have struggled this year, posting just a 10-17 mark overall and a 2-10 mark in SEC play. The Bulldogs improved to 14-10 (6-6) with their win over Ole Miss this past weekend, and are currently winners of 3 of their last 5. State won the first meeting, 58-57 in Baton Rouge, just 18 days ago. MSU didn't allow LSU to even get a shot off in the final 1:59, but the Tigers had their chances. That first match also included 14 ties and a 12 point performance by Riley Benock and a 16 point outing by Renardo Sidney. Tonight, MSU gets to play host this time around. The game is on CSS, at 8pm.
Ralston Turner- 12 ppg
Andre Stringer- 11 ppg
Malcom White- 8 ppg, 5 Rebs
Diamond Dawgs Top Northwestern State
NWS 4 7 1
MSU 7 7 1
W- Andrew Busby (1-0)
Kendall Gravemen- 5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 Earned), 3 K
Jarrod Parks- 2/3
CT Bradford- 1/2, 3 RBI
Johnathan Ogden- 1/3, RBI
Cody Freeman- 3/3
State is now 5-0 on the young season, after a 2 run double by Ogden in the 6th. State host Belmont this weekend for 3 games, which is a part of MSU's 14 game homestand to start the season.
ESPN's Chris Low is naming his top 25 SEC players from the 2010-2011 season. #20 on Low's list was MSU's LB Chris White. White is the 2nd Dawg on the list thus far, Derek Sherrod was #22 on the list. Link
State faces UTthis weekend, who learned yesterday that the school will be facing NCAA allegations for infractions committed by the Football, Baseball, and yes Bruce Pearl's Basketball program. Mainly the focus of those infractions are aimed at Pearl and some minor infractions by his assistant coaches. Pearl may not find out what his full punishment is until this summer, but many are talking about the possibility of yet another suspension for Pearl-which is rumored to be in the neighborhood of a year. This raises the question, as to whether or not Pearl will even be kept on throughout the suspension. My opinion, I think he gets fired. Link
Your thoughts on any and all?
What a weekend for Bulldog fans! Rick Stansbury continued his dominance over TSUN, with a 71-58 victory. And the Baseball team started off their 2011 season with a strong showing, taking two from both Akron and Lamar. Here's a breakdown of each, for your enjoyment.
Dawgs Top Rebels- Sweep Season Series
For some reason, despite the season that MSU might be having, State and Stansbury always find a way to beat TSUN. State improved to 14-12 (6-6) on the season, while the Rebels fell to 17-10 (5-7). State has won 3 of their last 5, with losses to Auburn and UK during that strecth, both games in which the Dawgs held double-digit leads. Better play from the Bulldogs is making many wonder if MSU might once again assume their role as the SEC Tourney's "Most Dangerous Team". The Rebs on the otherhand, have squandered what was a strong start to their 2010-2011 season. Since MSU went into Oxford and beat TSUN close to the start of the SEC slate, Andy Kennedy's team is just 5-6. Also, the win pushes MSU forward and TSUN backwards in the race for the 2nd seed in the SEC West. With that, I'll move on to my game notes...
Has Sidney Bought in?
One couldn't help but question. After last week's less than stellar performance at UK, which in return warranted very harsh criticism of Sid's weak showing on the big stage in Rupp Arena, it seems that "Shug" got the message. Though he scored more points in MSU's first meeting with TSUN, Saturday was by far the most COMPLETE game of Sid's career. Fighting for rebounds, hustling down the court, decent defense, and finishing on the offensive end, were all things that Sidney brought to the table on Saturday. It seems for much of the season, that Renardo has picked and chosen which of those assets he was going to contribute to the team-on a given night. But, performances like the one we just witnessed, makes you wonder if we are finally getting a glimpse of what the hype was all about. I know he has a ways to go, but this could be the beginning. With all that said, I still want to see how he handles defending shots from driving players, which has been one of my biggest criticisms and something he was not challenged with this past weekend. Btw, Sid is now leading State in rebounds per game.
Johnson is KEY to MSU Having Success
There was a day when Ray was my favorite, current MSU player, so don't think that this is why I'm bringing up his importance. The fact is, a quiet night for Ray=a quiet night for MSU. When Ray is hitting 3's and creating scoring opportunities, the Dawgs are bound to succeed. Bost, Augustus, Sidney, and Benock can all have off nights, but Johnson's performance usually has the biggest impact. He doesn't have to have a HUGE night, but if he has no night at all, Stans can usually forget about winning. Ray finished with16 points on 5-8 shooting, 3-5 from 3.
Doing the Little Things Matter (Good/Bad)
The Good- State played unselfish basketball and made the extra pass on Saturday, resulting in 21 assists. Dee had 9, Benock-7, Augustus-2, and Sid had 1. Extra effort on the defensive end, resulted in 5 steals and 6 blocks, including a complete hustle play and crowd pleaser by Brian Bryant. To round out the positives, MSU only had 9 turnovers on the night, which has to be a season low. Play like this, is what wins ball games. The Bad- State allowed TSUN to come down with 19 Offensive rebounds. That's 19 extra opportunities and it's also unnacceptable. State has to learn how to box out and scrap for the boards and our perimeter defenders have to follow their shooter's shot to claim the long rebound out front. Doing this will result in more fast break points for State.
Sidney- 22 pts, 12 Rebs, 1 Ast, 1 Blk
Johnson- 16 pts, 1 Blk, 1 Ast
Augustus- 9 pts. 4 Rebs, 2 Ast, 1 Stl
State shot 40% from the field, 46% from 3
Diamond Dawgs Roll Through Akron & Lamar (4-0)
Akron 0 1 0
MSU 11 14 0
W- Devin Jones 7.0 IP, 4 Ks
Vickerson- 1/4 HR
Collins- 1/3, 2 RBI
Parks- 2/4, 2 RBI
Ogden- 2/3 2 RBI
Saturday (Game 1)
Lamar 0 8 0
MSU 2 7 0
W- Stratton 6 IP, 10 Ks
Vickerson- 1/3, 1 RBI
Parks- 2/4, 1 RBI
Saturday (Game 2)
Akron 1 4 1
MSU 10 17 1
W- Pollorena 3.1 IP, 1 K
Norris- 3/5, 5 RBI
Parks- 1/4, 2 RBI
Lamar 2 6 4
MSU 17 14 0
W- Evan Mitchell
Vickerson- 2/5, 4 R, 1 RBI
Norris- 2/3, 3 RBI
Bradford- 2/5, 3 RBI
Ogden- HR, 4 RBI
Anybody at the Basketball game or Baseball games this weekend?
Is MSU going to earn the 2nd Seed in the West? Can they be the dangerous team they usually are come Tourney time?
Is is too early to get excited about the Diamond Dawgs?
State takes on Akron at 4 today, 11:30 and 3:30 on Saturday (Lamar and Akron, respectively), and Sunday at 2:30 vs Lamar again.
Here's a list of our 2011 MSU Diamond Dawgs by position (* = represents players who are expected to contribute)
-Nick Routt (Still recovering from arm injury)
*Tim Stratz, Michael Dixon, Ben Bracewell
The Bulldogs must find ways to get back in the dugout this spring and summer. 2 years of bad pitching and a rising team ERA have killed State's chances in competing the last 2 seasons. Ever since Cohen stepped foot in Starkville, his pitchers may not have been able to go the distance and stay out of trouble on the mound, but one things clear, those young arms who were thrown in the fire-were extremely talented. Those former young guns, who are now a solid group of Juniors, are poised and ready due to their past experiences. Stroutt, Reed, and Jones make up that group, followed by pretty class of Sophomores in Girodo, Stratton, CC Watson, and Graveman. Just how much experience does this group have? Coach Cohen documented last season's innings, and found that right at 70% of MSU's pitching in 2010, was done by a Freshman. Stroutt is probably at about 80% right now and regaining his velocity. Former Tupelo standout Chris Stratton, is expected to shine once again, after a strong Freshman season in 2010. Girodo and Reed are making strong strides, and hopefully Bracewell will be able to recover fully from his injury. Bracewell and Reed, could give MSU one heck of a bullpen. Coaches are already calling Freshman CT Bradford (Mr. Florida) the best pitcher on the team and could see time in the closer's spot.
*Taylor Stark, Adam Frazier, Demarcus Henderson, Daryl Norris, Wes Rea
When MSU was not suffering from poor choices on the mound, the play in the field hindered the Dawgs from getting off the field more than anything else. This time around, MSU looks to be loaded with more options and 'stronger' options at that. Senior 3B Jarrod Parks is as healthy as ever and showed the best bat of all the Dawgs in Fall Ball. Other Senior Nick Vickerson, adds everything you want in an infielder. Solid D, good base runner, a high .300's batting average, and OBP over .500. Cohen has already stated that Ogden might go down as the best SS in MSU's history. The kid has the glove to do it, but has to become more involved offensively. Frazier will get worked in at SS when Ogden needs rest, and Norris and Rea should find some time at 1B. Stark and Henderson are currently being examined, to determine whether they are more fit for the infield (2B) or the outfield.
*Hunter Renfroe, Brett Bozeman
Cohen is comfortable with Freeman or Thigpen behind the plate. Cody is finally healthy and should be able to once again contribute offensively. Thigpen needs to step up his approach the plate, but clearly has the better arm. With that said though, Thigpen does a pretty good job of finding his way on base. Due to Freeman's recovery time in the offseason and Thigpen's ability to stay active and train, Thig might get a few more nods til Freeman returns to form. Either way, these kids balance each other out and State fans can rest in the fact that a solid catcher will always be behind home plate.
*CT Bradford, Cody Abraham
This year's group is very promising. Shepherd has worked on his patience at the plate, and according to Cohen, has matured in the field. Brownlee is healthy and Collins has the potential to finish his MSU career·just as strong as he started it.·Bishop finished tied in Fall Ball for the most HR's and Bradford is 'as advertized', be it at the plate, on the field, or pitching. Cohen wasn't the only one who took notice of Bradford's abilities, considering his peers voted him as the top player on the team. Abraham is more than likely going to see time in the bullpen, but is still a possible addition to the Dawg OF.
Do you guys think this is the year for Cohen to turn things around for State?
Basketball- Dawgs Take on Ole Miss
Recently, TSUN has beat everyone that MSU has struggled with. First it was UK, then it was Auburn. For State, first it was losing a 19 point lead at Auburn which resulted in a loss, and then it was a hard fought road loss in Lexington. Ole Miss, State, and Arkansas are all tied for the 2nd place spot in the West. State holds somewhat of an edge in the race, considering they have beaten TSUN and Arky already this season. State also has already done the hard part, in beating TSUN on the road. Now, they get to host the Rebs for the chance to knock them down a few spots. State still has a trip to Fayetteville left on the schedule and so does Arkansas, which would complete the 3 teams' face off.
MSU won the first meeting vs the Rebs, 69-64, when Dee Bost posted 25 points and Renardo Sidney put up 24. After facing some criticism, Andy Kennedy has coached TSUN to winners of 4 of their last 5. Chris Warren, Reggie Buckner, and Zach Graham are playing as consistent as they have all year. This would be a big win for State, and just as big as their earlier victory over the Rebs.
Go Dawgs! Beat TSUN!
Btw, how weird is it, that the guy who poisoned the trees at Toomer's Corner has a son named Bear and a daughter named Crimson?!? That's scary...and I'm assuming yall heard the clip of him bragging about poisoning the trees on Finebaum.
I also wanted to see if we could get those of you who read but never post to do so today...so feel free to introduce yourself if you would. If not, just enjoy the read.
Last week, Cam Newton hosted a private workout that was reserved for the media only. About that same time, it became very evident that the investigation surrounding Newton's recruitment was far from over, as whispers picked up momentum through out the national media. Birmingham writer Kevin Scarbinsky, wrote earlier this week that the case has been officially handed over to the NCAA's enforcement branch. Earlier in the process, the extension of the NCAA who handled the investigation was mainly the department that handled suspensions, which worked more on a timeline basis. Now that the enforcement branch is handling the investigation, a more in-depth examination of all the involved players and factors can be placed under the scope, without major time constrictions.
Scarbinsky quoted SEC Commish Mike Slive as saying the following: "...nobody has written me a letter that says it's over. Looking back on it, the facts at this point and time haven't changed. The NCAA hasn't come up with anything that I'm aware of today that changes the facts that led to the decision to reinstate. ... The facts have not changed." With that said though, Slive seemed to handle issue as a 'no news is good news' type manner.
As for NCAA President Mark Emmert, he was quoted last week as saying: "There was no evidence that money had changed hands, and there was no evidence that Auburn University had anything to do with it."
The fact is, Slive wants this to all disappear, because it's a black eye for is conference and situation he didn't handle correctly from the start. Slive drug his feet when MSUnotified the SEC of Cecil Newton's actions in requiring a pay-for-play deal for his son. As for Emmert's case, his quote is true as of February 17, 2011. But whether or not money exchanged hands is not the case, as former MSU QB Matt Wyatt discussed in an article on Tuesday. The fact is, Cecil Newton's solicitations were enough to warrant disciplinary action. Wyatt used UGA's WR AJ Green's 2011 suspension as a perfect example of the hypocrisy that is on display in Indy. Here's some of Wyatt's write...
12.3 USE OF AGENTS
12.3.1 General Rule. An individual shall be ineligible for participation in an intercollegiate sport if he or she
ever has agreed (orally or in writing) to be represented by an agent for the purpose of marketing his or her athletics
ability or reputation in that sport.
The NCAA's Ruling on AJ Green's Case: “The university declared the student-athlete ineligible for violations of NCAA agent benefits rules. According to the facts of the case submitted by Georgia, the student-athlete sold his Independence Bowl game jersey to an individual who meets the NCAA definition of an agent. Green has repaid the $1,000 value of benefits to charity. According to NCAA rules, an agent is any individual who markets or promotes a student-athlete.”
The NCAA's Ruling on Cam Newton: “According to facts of the case agreed upon by Auburn University and the NCAA enforcement staff, the student-athlete’s father and an owner of a scouting service worked together to actively market the student-athlete as a part of a pay-for-play scenario in return for Newton’s commitment to attend college and play football. NCAA rules (Bylaw 12.3.3) do not allow individuals or entities to represent a prospective student-athlete for compensation to a school for an athletic scholarship.”
Hmmm, Hypocrisy...Yep! Matt Wyatt went on to share one of Emmert's most recent comments that admit the NCAA's fumbling of Cam-Gate: “I said very loud and clear that I think it’s absolutely and fundamentally wrong for a father to try to sell the services of his son or daughter to the highest bidder, to a university. We ought never to allow that to happen, but yet, having not anticipated that, we didn’t have any rule or structure that said it was a violation of any of our rules. I found that grossly inappropriate that we didn’t have a structure in which we could say, ‘No, you can’t do that.”
That statement condemns Emmert himself, in that he admitted that the proof of money actually exchanging hands is NOT the issue, when it comes to considering that foul play actually took place. The guilt lies in the fact that Newton shopped his son to multiple schools and paid a recruiting service to match his son with a school. The NCAA recognizes that as improper and 'fundamentally wrong"- as Emmert said, yet they are ignoring the truth and hiding behind a loophole, which really isn't a loophole, it's a prideful excuse.
To make things even more interesting, former MSU QB John Bond, who was the first to unveil the Newton Scandal, stated yesterday that he would "tell all" if Newton somehow got off the hook. SportsbyBrooks.com made it public yesterday that HBO has been in contact with Kenny Rogers (ex MSU player and Newton's Talent Rep), Bill Bell (former MSU player approached to buy Newton), and Bond, in order to get the facts about Cam-Gate. Rogers is interviewing on March 1st, but Bond and Bell said they are going to sit back for awhile and see if the story will break without their help. But, Bond did say that if all is not brought to the light, he'd share even more of what he knows.
Btw, the NCAA enforcement investigators aren't just hanging around Auburn. As of yesterday, it went public that they were also down on the Bayou, investigating Auburn's recruiting practices while pursuing 4 recruits from Louisiana.
Hmmmm, the plot thickens. First of all, you don't bark up LSU's tree and I have no doubt that they turned in Auburn as well. The thing with LSU, love them or hate them, is that they don't have to cheat in recruiting. For 60 years now, a kid who grows up in Louisiana dreams of wearing white jerseys in Death Valley. That's a fact. Auburn has been slapping southern states in the face over the past 2 recruiting seasons, doing their best to sign each state's top player. Last year they nabbed 5, including Mr. Arkansas' Micheal Dyer.
In closing, the whole situation still stinks to me. I can't believe that a school such as Auburn, with all of their history of cheating under Dye and Bowden, and their HUGE list of under the table, back room money handlers- had the nerve to once again 'cut the funds back on'. MSU doesn't have the cleanest history, but never has MSU been involved in scams that have cover a landscape of casinos, dog tracks, and documented improper benefits that make SMUlook like amateurs. I'm even more bothered by the arrogance that Auburn has handled all of this with. They are clearly delusional or 95% of their fanbase and school brass lack a moral compass. I've always had a strong respect for Tiger fans, who have treated me extremely well when visiting Auburn. But, the way our school's name has been drug through the mud by AU is too much for me.
Protect MSU's Name
I'm sick of the Auburn media and Pat Dye pointing a finger at 'my' MSU, who hasn't been accused of ANY wrong doing. I want my school's name cleared and I can't wait til War Eagle has to face the music. I can't wait til all of the mental pictures I have of a smirking Cam Newton-waving a towel in the Auburn student section, are overridden in my mind with the word "BUSTED". And for any State fan who is not concerned with Newton Saga, I question your fanhood. Do not shrug your shoulders and give into Auburn's practices. Stand up for your school.
* Btw, last night news also broke that the trees at Toomer's Corner in Auburn, were indeed poisoned. Even with my disgust with AU in this article, I feel really bad that a staple and traditional setting was vandalized. Not a classy move.
Your thoughts and comments? Will the Newtons and Auburn face the Music?
Link to Audio of John Bond making his claim to tell all. Link
The good news: MSU shot 52% in the 1st half. The bad news: UK shot 67% in the 2nd. MSU led by 10 with just 10 minutes to play before the Half, but the #22 Wildcats slowly chipped away at the Bulldogs' lead as the 1st period came to a close. To make things worse, State's lead was 5 with just seconds to play, until UK's Brandon Knight drove past half court looking to pass the ball to Terrence Jones for a buzzer beater, but was fouled as he left his feet. Knight was clearly trying to pass the ball, but due to his upward motion the referees ruled that Knight was in the act of shooting. After finding out the official ruling, MSU's Rick Stansbury rightfully contested thecall, but received a Technical Foul. If you do the math, that's 5 FT's for the Cats. Knight made 4 of the 5 from the stripe, and Calipari's young team went into the Half down 1 instead of 5. After the half, UK's perimeter men benefited from wide open shooting opportunities and strong press defense to work their way out in front. UK took the lead at 51-50, with 15:22 left, and would never look back. State fell to as much as 12 with 3 minutes left, but the Dawgs' scratching and clawing-that was at times impressive, was not enough in the long run. Here's the positives and negatives from the night, but it's weird though, my positives also made the negatives list...
Rick Stansbury...Believe or Not-Though many might blame his technical as the momentum swinging moment in the game, I can't blame him. For one, it was a terrible call. And two, he is sick of getting screwed by the officials in games against UK. It was the Stansbury of the past, the one that stood up for his players and signaled in set plays. Where has that been all year? Negatives: With all of that good that Stans contributed, I still feel he abandoned the inside game too early and didn't stress the fact enough-to not give the Wildcats any breathing room around the perimeter. We also blew an 11 point lead early on and a 5 point lead after the half, because Stans took his foot off the gas. Like I said yesterday, where are the set plays that cut into an aggressive defense like UK's, especially in pressure situations? Indecision led to numerous turnovers and a lost lead each time.
Jalen Steele's Play- If there's one bright spot besides the play of Dee Bost this season, it's the emergence of Jalen Steele. The kid is going to be special. 17 points off of 5-7 shooting from 3 pt Land. Negatives: The only aspects of his game that he needs to improve are: (1) Knowing his limits- Taking the ball inside vs bigger defenders does not work for him. (2) Defense- He has to do a better job of sticking with his man. He allowed too many open 3's, when he lost his man in motion. Otherwise, I'm just as excited about this kid, as I was when Bost arrived on campus.
Ravern Johnson's 21- If State needed a big 3, Ray responded. Steele started over Johnson, but upon his entrance into the game, Ray made his presence known with a 3-ball. 21 points, 7-7 from the FT line, 4 of 5 from 3, Ravern showed us why he is so important to our offense. Negatives: In 2 crucial situations, Ray was unable to field Dee Bosts' passes. Even though the passes were not crisp, they were in pressure situations where you have to be ready for anything. Ray also forced a few shots with his impatience, that could have been pivotal possessions. But, despite the closing minutes, Ray played solid.
Dee Bost- No doubt our most solid player. Dee hit some big shots and set the tone early, but...Negatives: Dee got outplayed by Freshman Doron Lamb. Lamb, who started in place of Miller, hit 7-8 shots and posted 20 points on the night. Lamb hit 3 daggers that kept State at arm's length. Dee got lost in ball screen situations, struggled to hand with Lamb's speed on the dribble, and on the offensive side of things, just made some poor shot choices. Dee needs to take the 22 footer instead of the 26 footer with the game on the line. He also had 5 turnovers. But, Dee did announce that he plans on coming back next season (as of yesterday), which is huge for us!
Sidney Disappears Again-After a strong start, Sid once again disappeared. Early on, Sid showed some aggressiveness down low and attacked the basket. Negatives: It didn't last long. Sid missed out on a perfect opportunity to shine on the big stage last night in Rupp. Not only did he disappear after that solid start, be he tried to re-insert himself in the game with terrible shot choices. I don't know what his infatuation is with the baseline. Every time he drives that direction, he forgets that he is 300lbs and has to walk a tight rope. I am also sick and tired of him RUNNING out of the way of a driving player. I've said it a thousand times here on the site, if the shooter has left his feet, it allows you to jump and make a play. If you jump before him or at the same time you are looking at a foul call. But, just let the guy pull up his shot before he gets to you, and then leave your feet and contest the shot. Sid has missed out on about 25 EASY blocks this season, because he is worried about drawing a foul. I'm sure that Varnado is at home shaking his head in disbelief. Rick needs to bring him in this summer to work with Sid. With all that said, I am glad to see the kid starting to rebound. He has around 30 the last 3 games combined.
Ravern Johnson- 21 pts 5 Rebs
Jalen Steel- 17 pts 2 Ast
Dee Bost-16 pts, 4 Ast, 3 Reb, 2 Stl
Renardo Sidney- 11 pts, 8 Reb
State did nothing to stop UK's top scorers: Knight- 24, Lamb-20, Jones- 17, Miller- 13
State host TSUN on Saturday at the Hump (12:30 tip)
Do you think Steele is the future of MSU Basketball? I do.
In case you missed it yesterday, here's an article by former MSU QB Matt Wyatt. The article pretty much talks about how the NCAA chose to look past their own laws in the Cam Newton scandal. Link