#41 Mississippi State Bulldogs: College Basketball 111 in 111

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Welcome to The Sports Bank’s second annual college basketball season preview series.  Last year we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  This year, we are being slightly more aggressive and expanding to 111 teams in 111 days.  We will rank the 74 power conference teams and top 37 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

Rick Stansbury is due all the credit in the world for keeping his Mississippi State Bulldogs afloat last season after teammates Renardo Sidney and Elgin Bailey brawled in the crowd during one of the games at the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii.  With that black eye on the program now behind them, the Bulldogs have a chance to make some serious noise in the SEC.

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MISSISSIPPI STATE BULLDOGS
Last Season: T-4th, 9-7 in SEC, 17-14 overall
Predicted SEC Finish: 5th

Projected Depth Chart
C: Renardo Sidney (Jr)/Wendell Lewis (Jr)/Shawn Long (Fr)
PF: Arnett Moultrie (Jr)/Roquez Johnson (Fr)
SF: Rodney Hood (Fr)/Kristers Zeidaks (So)
SG: Jalen Steele (So)/Brian Bryant (Sr)/Shaun Smith (So)
PG: Dee Bost (Sr)/Deville Smith (Fr)

Gone: G/F-Ravern Johnson, PF-Kodi Augustus, SG-Riley Benock, PF-Elgin Bailey (transfer-SE Louisiana), G-Twany Beckham (transfer-Kentucky), C-John Riek (transfer-University of Tampa?)

2011-2012 Outlook:
Mississippi State loses three starters from last season but will greatly benefit from the addition of two very talented forwards.  UTEP transfer Arnett Moultrie becomes eligible after sitting out last season.  He has NBA potential due to his combination of size and athleticism and should provide the Bulldogs with a formidable frontcourt when paired up with Renardo Sidney.  The oft-trouble big man had a productive first season in Starkville but has not come close to reaching his full potential.

Wendell Lewis is a beast down low and will be the first big man off the bench.  He is a defensive presence due to his ability to clean up the glass and block shots.  Freshmen Roquez Johnson and Shawn Long will also try to work themselves into the mix.  Johnson plays with a high motor and brings good athleticism to the floor while Long is an intriguing talent due to his height (6-10) and versatility.

The other newcomer expected to make a major splash is Rodney Hood.  He was a top five small forward in the 2011 class and can do a little bit of everything on the floor.  Latvian forward Kristers Zeidaks could be an x-factor for State.  He is another inside/outside threat who played for Latvia’s U-20 team this summer.  There were questions about his amateur status but he should be cleared by the NCAA and eligible to compete at some point this season. Incoming freshman D.J. Gardner who was likely to redshirt had a very short stint as a Bulldog as he was dismissed from team for “repeated actions deemed detrimental to the team.”

The backcourt will be anchored by senior Dee Bost.  He is not only a tremendous distributor, but he can also score the basketball and is a solid defender.  His leadership and experience will be essential if the Bulldogs are going to reach their potential.  Freshman Deville Smith dazzled on the team’s European trip this summer and will back-up Bost at the point.

Brian Bryant and Jalen Steele were both solid reserves a year ago and figure to battle for the other starting backcourt spot.  Shaun Smith played sparingly last season and could also factor into the equation.  Until somebody takes control of that position though, shooting guard will remain the Bulldogs’ most glaring weakness.

This Bulldog team has four potential NBA players in Sidney, Moultrie, Hood, and Bost so the talent is definitely there.  If Stansbury can make the most of that foursome and get the other players to embrace their roles, Mississippi State could be a serious sleeper in the SEC.

renardo sidney

Player to Watch: Renardo Sidney
Sidney’s story is well known; having to sit out his first season and the beginning of last year at Mississippi State due to questions regarding his recruitment and of course the aforementioned fight against his own teammate that was caught on national television.  In hopes of putting that in his rearview mirror, the 6-10 big man spent this summer working with John Lucas who has a history of helping troubled ballers find their focus.

Sidney cut some weight which should help his poor conditioning and make him an even bigger factor this season.  He posted solid numbers (14.2 points, 7.6 rebounds) despite playing just slightly more than 25 minutes a night.  If he can carry over his work ethic and motivation to this season, Sidney should be a force on floor.  If he returns to his old ways, he could be the cause for the Bulldogs’ struggles.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/17 vs. Texas A&M (2k Classic)
11/18 vs. Arizona/St. John’s (2k Classic)
12/3 vs. West Virginia (SEC/Big East Challenge)
12/17 at Detroit
12/28 vs. Baylor (in Dallas)
12/31 vs. Utah State

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#42 Saint Mary’s Gaels
#43 Purdue Boilermakers
#44 BYU Cougars
#45 Kansas State Wildcats
#46 West Virginia Mountaineers
#47 Virginia Cavaliers
#48 George Mason Patriots
#49 Old Dominion Monarchs

#50 VCU Rams
#51 Kent State Golden Flashes
#52 Arkansas Razorbacks
#53 St. John’s Red Storm
#54 Northwestern Wildcats
#55 Georgetown Hoyas
#56 Miami Hurricanes
#57 Nevada Wolfpack
#58 Detroit Titans
#59 UCF Knights
#60 Long Beach State 49ers
#61 Virginia Tech Hokies
#62 Clemson Tigers
#63 New Mexico State Aggies
#64 Tennessee Volunteers
#65 Iona Gaels
#66 Murray State Racers
#67 N.C. State Wolfpack
#68 Fairfield Stags
#69 George Washingon Colonials
#70 Indiana State Sycamores
#71 Oklahoma State Cowboys
#72 Indiana Hoosiers
#73 UAB Blazers
#74 Iowa State Cyclones
#75 Creighton Bluejays
#76 USC Trojans
#77 Weber State Wildcats
#78 Maryland Terrapins
#79 Tulsa Golden Hurricane
#80 Minnesota Golden Gophers
#81 Western Michigan Broncos
#82 Dayton Flyers
#83 Stanford Cardinal
#84 Yale Bulldogs

#85 Georgia Bulldogs
#86 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
#87 Richmond Spiders
#88 Ball State Cardinals
#89 Utah State Aggies
#90 Arizona State Sun Devils
#91 Marshall Thundering Herd
#92 Oregon State Beavers
#93 Washington State Cougars
#94 Iowa Hawkeyes
#95 Ole Miss Rebels
#96 Nebraska Cornhuskers
#97 Oklahoma Sooners
#98 South Florida Bulls
#99 LSU Tigers
#100 Colorado Buffaloes
#101 DePaul Blue Demons
#102 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#103 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#104 Seton Hall Pirates
#105 Providence Friars
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 South Carolina Gamecocks
#108 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#109 Penn State Nittany Lions
#110 Boston College Eagles
#111 Utah Utes

David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft on the web.

You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.

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