What the ‘Epic’ Loss Means for MSU


What a long night it was Wednesday. Two overtimes – ‘epic,’ I called it – a rush to make deadline, and then on the way back to Tupelo I had to help some yahoo who ran out of gas outside West Point. Went by the name of Gregg Ellis. Kind of tall, big head. Nice guy, though.

Anywho, my own prodigious noggin has been swimming this morning with thoughts of what occurred last night at Humphrey Coliseum (and here’s the notebook). Simply put, it was one of the best basketball games I’ve witnessed in person. MSU proved it belongs near the top of the SEC, that it’s a team to be reckoned with. But the fact remains that it’s another loss and a blow to the Bulldogs’ NCAA tournament hopes.

The record: 16-8, 6-3 in SEC play with seven games remaining. Let’s just say they win out. That would be 13-3 in the league, quite impressive, but will a 23-8 record impress the selection committee? I would think so, but the problem for State is that it has not one marquee win. But Kentucky, you say, and I say we still have to withhold judgment on the quality of that win, because nobody’s really sure what’s up with the Wildcats.

Now, it’s true, as SEC Commissioner Mike Slive reminded us, that conference RPI is no factor in the tourney selection process. That’s good. I do wonder, however, if there is too much emphasis on a team’s RPI. Tennessee’s is really high (21), but the Vols are 15-8 (6-3). You’ve got Kentucky at 17-7 and South Carolina at 17-5 (both are 6-3 in conference), but I don’t think they’re locks yet, either. Florida is 19-5 but also 6-3. Whoever wins the East might have an edge over State simply because they own a division title. MSU can bolster its case by beating whatever team that is – Tennessee, Florida and South Carolina all have yet to play the Bulldogs.

RealTimeRPI.com has MSU’s RPI at 77 this morning, but that will continue to go up. A couple or three wins in the SEC Tournament sure wouldn’t hurt. For all this conjecture, though, one thing is for certain, and MSU coach Rick Stansbury put it best: “We proved that we’re right there, we can play with anybody.”

More reflections on this game and its implications in tomorrow’s Journal.


2 Responses to “What the ‘Epic’ Loss Means for MSU”

  1. ors06 Says:

    I agree BL that to much emphasis is put on the RPI, but unfortunately it’s the system we have in place and basically there is only 1 SEC team (UT) with a decent RPI ranking. Our RPI of 77 was before the LSU game, so it will probably improve a little over the next day or so, and we would need to win out even to get a RPI in the 50’s. Moreover, the strength of our non-conference schedule back in December is preventing us from a better RPI in February. Also, I disagree that the conference RPI doesn’t matter, because if we were playing conference teams with Top 25 RPI rankings, then this would drastically improve our team RPI. If the rest of the SEC would schedule their non-conference opponents like UT does, then the talk about the SEC being a weak conference would go away.

  2. darkcooger Says:

    I agree with Stansbury. State proved that it can hang with the best last night, even when that much-vaunted 3-point game is completely absent. In the end, we might still miss the Big Dance, but Bulldog fans can take comfort in the realization that this team, young and fresh as it is, can still take on the big boys. LSU has the most senior team in the conference (I think), and they couldn’t shut our Dawgs down.

    Good game, Bulldogs, but from here on out, it’d make me a lot less nervous if you’d rely on making points from the field rather than from the charity stripe. But if you win, I’ll be content no matter where the points came from.

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