I wrote recently that Mississippi State has some real concerns following Monday’s 55-52 loss to Western Kentucky, concerns that must be addressed by Saturday when the Bulldogs open SEC play at No. 14 Ole Miss (12-2).
But let’s look at the flip side of this situation. Suppose this game was no more than an anomaly. An aberration. Just a bad night.
MSU (12-3) struggled in several categories in which it has normally excelled this season, both as a team and individually. Let’s examine some of them, looking at the season averages going into Monday’s game compared to what the Bulldogs did against WKU.
Season – Monday
–FTs: 69.8 percent – 51.9 percent (season low)
–3FGs: 41.9 percent – 21.1 percent (season low)
–Turnovers: 13.3 – 18 (tied season high)
–Steals: 5.6 – 4
–Points: 76.4 – 52 (season low)
–Bench points: 17.4 – 2 (season low)
–Ravern Johnson 3FGs: 49.5 percent – 33.0 percent (2 of 6)
–Phil Turner FTs: 94.7 percent – 33.0 percent (2 of 6, season low)
–Kodi Augustus FGs: 45.5 percent – 20.0 percent (1 of 5, tied season low)
–Barry Stewart TOs: 1.1 (16 total) – 5 (tied season high)
–Jarvis Varnado blocks: 5.1 – 3
You could argue it was the perfect storm of statistical deviations. In other words, a lot of guys had an off night at the same time. MSU is normally good enough to overcome a bad night by a couple of guys, but this was a team-wide thing, except for Varnado (pictured above). He was solid.
Now, if this happens again, then we can start calling it a developing trend, and then you can start being really concerned.