When the book is closed on Mississippi State’s season, the focus will be on the missed opportunities at the free throw line, not the putback by DeMarcus Cousins as time expired in regulation to send the game to overtime.
As good as Mississippi State was supposed to be this season, winning yet another SEC West division title with the leading shot-blocker of all time in college basketball in Jarvis Varnado and sharpshooter Barry Stewart, what was supposed to be a certain bid in the NCAA Tournament has evolved into the waiting game for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs going into today had an RPI of 43 and a record of 23-10 after beating Vanderbilt in the SEC semis, with good wins coming against Ole Miss twice and Old Dominion in the regular season.
After the start of the new year, if one looked at their wins, the only two that would stand out would be the wins against Ole Miss, which could also be on the outside looking in with their RPI of 54.
But the Bulldogs played close against Kentucky (RPI 5) and Vanderbilt (RPI 36), a Bulldog fan would say.
True, but they lost to Rider (RPI 183) at home as well as Arkansas, Western Kentucky, Alabama, and oh yeah, Auburn in the last game ever at Beard-Eaves.
That doesn’t bode well for a team that wants to make the NCAA Tournament for the third straight season.
Losing to Tennessee is one thing, but losing to Western Kentucky and Rider?
Those losses aren’t in the category at all.
In a few minutes, as we all sit around our televisions, the people of Starkville better face the cold hard truth about being left out.
Sometimes, the truth is best served ice cold, and in the case of Mississippi State, it was served by John Wall and Cousins.
You had your chances and you blew them.
Deal with it.