3 Reasons The 100th Year Could Be Wrapped In Maroon and White
By, Hunter Richardson
Mississippi State will tip-off its 100th season of basketball Monday as the Bulldogs host Eastern Kentucky in the Regional Round of the 2K Sports Classic. And with this tip-off comes a season that many Bulldog faithful expect to be even better than the 1996 season that produced a trip to the Meadowlands for the NCAA Final Four.
After two exhibition victories against Florida Tech (97-63) and Pikeville (94-70) before the 2011-12 season begins, there is much promise with this particular State team. Here are three reasons why this could be a season unlike any other for the Dogs from Starkville, Miss.
1) Dee Bost And Renardo Sidney Are Back And Ready To Shine
Dee Bost is picking up where he left off last season, putting in 26 points, 10 assists, and eight steals in the two exhibition wins and continuing to be a leader on the court. Bost is a scorer by trade and with Brian Bryant taking over at point guard, Bost can move to the two and have more looks at the basket. More scoring from Bost is the best thing for Mississippi State and the worst for their opponents.
After a disappointing 2010-11 season, Renardo Sidney is hoping that intense offseason training with John Lucas will give him the conditioning needed to put in solid minutes night in and night out. With more minutes and better physical shape, Sidney could easily be one of the top players in the NCAA this season.
2) Newcomers Moultrie, Hood, And Smith Are The Key For Success
High-flying dunks and dominate post performances have been the name of the game for Arnett Moultrie so far in the exhibition games. Having put up double-doubles in both contests, Moultrie has been possibly the best player in State’s exhibition showings. Not only has his statistical performance been impressive, but so has his commanding presence in the paint, which frees up space for Sidney, creating a potent, front court double-threat.
For the younger two, there have not been more highly touted freshmen in Starkville in recent memory than Rodney Hood and DeVille Smith. A mixture of pure scoring (Hood) and incredible speed (Smith) create a rookie combo that will frustrate opponents throughout the season. After strong preseason performances, including the European trip the Dogs took during the summer, its evident that these two young stars and Moultrie will only get better as the season goes along.
3) Right Where They Want To Be: Underdogs
Underdogs. It’s a word used very often in association with Mississippi State sports. And it’s a word many Dogs love to hear. The talent this team possesses, along with the balance of youth and experience make this team something special. However, some people are not completely sold, especially with Sidney, who is key for the Dogs. After last year, some doubt Sidney can coexist with his teammates. Some doubt that Moultrie is the real deal. No worries though. Mississippi State has other plans, regardless of the nation’s thoughts.
“We have big goals for this season,” Bryant said. “We want to do great things.”
With how special this team is, those “great things” could be found in March in New Orleans.