If Mississippi State didn’t have bad luck in the first year of the Rick Ray era they’d would have none.
Since Ray took over in Starkville four players have suffered season-ending knee injuries, with junior guard Jalen Steele becoming the fourth after tearing the ACL and meniscus in his right knee in Wednesday’s loss to South Carolina.
Steele suffered the injury during the second half, and for the season he averaged 10.1 points and 2.9 rebounds per game.
Due to their lack of both depth and experience Mississippi State has struggled mightily this season, tallying just eight wins (8-21 overall, 3-14 SEC) heading into their season finale on Saturday against Auburn.
According to Brandon Marcello of the Clarion-Ledger, Mississippi State will have just six scholarship players available for Saturday’s game.
In addition to Steele, Wendell Lewis, Jacoby Davis and Andre Applewhite all suffered season-ending knee injuries this season. This is Steele’s second major knee injury during his time at Mississippi State, as he tore the ACL in his left knee back in 2011.
Mississippi State lost every key contributor from last season’s 21-win team, with the departure of one of the SEC’s best freshmen in Rodney Hood (transferred to Duke) being the toughest blow to take when considering the future of the program. With that in mind, and the injuries that sapped what little depth the Bulldogs had to begin with, Mississippi State’s struggles haven’t come as a surprise to anyone.
The Bulldogs have three commitments in the 2013 class, led by shooting guard Travis Daniels, and the recovery of players such as Steele and Lewis will be just as important to the future of the Mississippi State program.
Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
Steve Prohm announced on Monday that starting center Jameel McKay will not be in the lineup on Wednesday when the Cyclones take on Texas Tech.
“He’ll practice today because I want him in practice,” Prohm said, “but game-wise, he’s suspended.”
McKay did not make the trip to Stillwater with the team on Saturday, where Iowa State beat Oklahoma State, 64-59. Prohm has not gotten into specifics regarding the cause of McKay’s suspension, but it’s reportedly an issue with the way he has been practicing. McKay is dealing with a nagging knee injury, which may play a role in the situation as well.
“My hope is he’ll be with us on Saturday,” Prohm said.
Like the Coaches Poll, Villanova found themselves No. 1 in the AP Poll during the regular season for the first time in the history of the program.
And like the Coaches Poll, there isn’t much in the way of a consensus when it comes to who is the No. 1 team, as there are six teams that received No. 1 votes in the poll this week.
The biggest shock to me?
The No. 1 team in the NBC Sports Top 25, Iowa, received just 11 first place votes and is ranked fourth in the AP Poll.
They were ranked fifth in the Coaches Poll.
Can we get Fran McCaffery the love they deserve?
Here is the rest of the AP Poll:
1. Villanova (20-3, 32 first-place votes)
2. Maryland (21-3, 13)
3. Oklahoma (19-3, 7)
4. Iowa (19-4, 11)
5. Xavier (21-2)
6. Kansas (19-4, 1)
7. Virginia (19-4, 1)
8. Michigan State (20-4)
9. North Carolina (19-4)
10. West Virginia (19-4)
11. Oregon (18-4)
12. Miami (FL) (18-4)
13. Louisville (19-4)
14. Iowa State (17-6)
15. Texas A&M (18-5)
16. SMU (20-2)
17. Arizona (19-5)
18. Purdue (19-5)
19. Dayton (19-3)
20. Providence (18-6)
21. Baylor (17-6)
22. Kentucky (17-6)
23. USC (18-5)
24. Texas (16-7)
25. Wichita State (17-6)
DROPPED OUT: No. 22 Indiana, No. 25 South Carolina
NEW ADDITIONS: No. 23 USC, No. 24 Texas