There really is only one way to look at the way Mississippi State’s season is heading: a massive disappointment.
After losing to LSU in 69-67 overtime last night, the Bulldogs fell to 6-5 in the SEC, a full five games off of Kentucky’s pace. It was their second straight overtime loss — the previous one was to Georgia — and their third loss in the past five games, a number that is unacceptable given the amount of talent on Mississippi State’s roster and the talent level in the SEC as a whole.
Think about it like this: the Bulldogs have two players on their roster — Dee Bost and Arnett Moultrie — with the talent to be first-team all-conference selections, they have a big front line with talent coming off of their bench and they have a couple of skilled perimeter players that can more than hold their own against anyone in the country. Even with everyone’s favorite punching bag coaching this group, the struggles have been surprising.
You see, the issue is that Mississippi State plays in the SEC West, meaning that they only get one shot at Kentucky, Florida and Vanderbilt. Instead, the Bulldogs are playing two games apiece against the Auburns and Arkansas’s of the world, and while Mississippi State’s win at Vandy will carry some weight with the Selection Committee, the fact that four of their five league losses have come against teams without winning records in league play will more than make up for it.
Mississippi State has five games left in league play. One of them is against Kentucky, whom they host in Starkville, and three more are roadies. The Bulldogs may end up with as many as seven or eight leagues losses by the time the tournament rolls around.
We are getting dangerously close to the time when we need to stop asking whether Mississippi State is going to be a scary team to see as a nine or a ten seed and start asking whether we truly believe this group is going to be able to put together the necessary wins by Selection Sunday.
If Stansbury misses the tournament with this group, Mississippi State probably should begin looking for a new coach.