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MSU sees tough end to season

March 14, 2012


It was a tough way to end a season.

Even though Mississippi State came back from a 14-point deficit to force two overtimes against the University of Massachusetts in the first round game of the National Invitation Tournament Tuesday night, the season didn't end like the Bulldogs wanted.

The visiting Minutemen took advantage of some MSU mistakes down the stretch and advanced with a 101-96 victory at Humphrey Coliseum.

With another win or two along the way, the Bulldogs are probably playing in the NCAA Tournament this weekend and there may have been a better feeling about the year.

It was pretty much MSU men's coach Rick Stansbury thoughts on the subject.

"Anything short of a championship, it's disappointing for me too," Stansbury said during his post-game remarks.

The two losses to Georgia, one in overtime at home 70-68 and the other in the first round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament 71-61, will stand out as some very damaging results for State.

The first loss to UGA started a five-game losing streak that sent MSU out of the polls and hushed any NCAA Tournament talk.

When the Bulldogs defeated South Carolina and Arkansas to close the regular season, it got them back on the bubble. The second loss to Georgia was the devastating blow.

Mississippi State finished the season with records of 21-12 overall, including an 8-8 mark in the SEC.

There have been some rumblings in recent days about Stansbury's job security.

Even though Stansbury has had some good moments during his 14-year tenure in leading the Bulldogs, things haven't been taken to the next level.

It takes more than one man to do that and it would be unfortunate to see the administration make a rash move when it comes to Stansbury.

There needs to be some serious evaluation about the entire program and not just one or two people.

Stansbury may be back, but there's a real possibility that Arnett Moultrie and Renardo Sidney won't be.

Moultrie, a draft eligible junior, may be off to a career in professional basketball, while Sidney may leave out of frustration. In a tweet after the game, Sidney wrote, "I'm out."

Stansbury didn't have answers about Moultrie and Sidney after the game. He has not discussed such things with his players. Those conversations should come soon.

Sidney was not a factor in the game and sat out much of the second half and both overtimes. Even if Sidney returns, that's a situation that must be dealt with by somebody during the offseason. Maybe it would be for the best if Sidney was "out" as it was indicated Tuesday night.

Evidently there were others who checked "out" on MSU as only a crowd of 2,507 showed up for the NIT game.

It's obvious that there's not a whole lot of excitement about the Bulldogs on the basketball court right now.

Something has to be done by somebody to try and change that.
Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.

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