Bulldog Basketball Scouting Report

The Game: Mississippi State (13-12, 5-6 SEC) is back home for a crucial Division contest with Ole Miss (17-9, 5-6 SEC). Saturday's tipoff in Humphrey Coliseum is 12:47 for SEC Network telecast, with the MSU broadcast on XM215,Sirius 200.

*Both teams carry matching conference records; in fact they are in a three-way tie for second in the SEC West with Arkansas. Head-to-head State has the edge with wins over both the Rebels and Razorbacks pending rematches. But, Arkansas has beaten Alabama and Ole Miss gets one more shot at the Tide, while State lost both chances with the West leader. So Saturday is even more of a must-win for the Bulldogs as jostling for a SEC Tournament bye-day continues.

*This is the most-played series for each side, and Mississippi State holds a 137-105 lead. That includes a 89-24 advantage in home games. MSU had a ten-year streak in Humphrey Coliseum before the Rebels scored a 2009 upset.

*Rick Stansbury has a 19-7 record in games with Ole Miss, the most victories against any opponent in his 13 State seasons.

*Both teams have made 84 three-pointers in eleven SEC games, and only South Carolina throws up more longball attempts than these squads.

The Last Time: Mississippi State might have had one of its more efficient offensive outings of this SEC season, but it was timely defense down the stretch that secured a 69-64 success in Oxford. And, the aggressive second-half work of Dee Bost, who took over the game after Ole Miss had battled to a 34-32 intermission lead. The host Rebels used excellent early outside shooting from Chris Warren and Zach Graham to set the first half tone, but when they cooled off State was able to regain control behind Bost. He was a step too quick for coverage, able to get inside for baskets and fouls both; which also opened room for Renardo Sidney to stick some jumpers in his first big SEC outing. And after an extended shooting slump Ravern Johnson got a couple of longballs to fall that put his team in front. They stayed there as the Bulldogs forced Ole Miss to take rushed or guarded outside shots in the last two minutes, all misses. Bost notched his season-high (to date) 25 points with eight assists and Sidney had 24 points, five boards in the win. The Rebels put up 35 outside shots and made 12 but were held under 35% overall shooting.

Projected Starting Lineups (full-season stats):

OLE MISS: F Terrance Henry, JR 6-9, 9.0ppg, 48%fgs, 5.9rpg, F Reginald Buckner, SO 6-8, 7.4ppg, 4.0rpg, 78 blks; G Nick Williams, SO 6-5, 7.2ppg, 4.0rpg, 40%3ptrs; G Chris Warren, SR 5-10, 18.4ppg, 67 3ptrs, 3.8apg; G Zach Graham, SR 6-6, 14.8ppg, 36 3ptrs, 4.4rpg, 24 stls.

Top Reserves: G Trevor Gaskins, JR 6-2, 7.0ppg, 3.2rpg, 26 3ptrs; G Dundrecas Nelson, FR 5-11, 6.3ppg, 30 3ptrs; F Steadman Short, JR 6-9, 3.2ppg, 3.6rpg.

MISSISSIPPI STATE: F Kodi Augustus, SR 6-8, 11.7ppg, 7.3rpg, 20 3ptrs; F Renardo Sidney, SO 6-10, 12.9ppg, 7.4rpg; G Dee Bost, JR 6-2, 17.5ppg, 30 3ptrs, 5.0apg; G Riley Benock, SR 6-4, 6.8ppg, 4.3rpg, 44 3ptrs; G Jalen Steele, FR 6-3, 5.7ppg, 24 3ptrs.

Top Backups: G/F Ravern Johnson, SR 6-7, 17.1ppg, 3.6rpg, 58 3ptrs; C Wendell Lewis, SO 6-8, 3.6ppg, 3.7rpg, 24blks; G Brian Bryant, JR 6-2, 5.1ppg, 3.3rpg, 1.8asts.


Scoring: MSU 68.5, OM 75.0

Scoring Defense: MSU 69.7, OM 68.5

FG Shooting: MSU 42.7%, OM 45.5%

FG Defense: MSU 42.0%, OM 42.6%

3-Point Shooting: MSU 34.8%, OM 35.3%

3-point Attempts PG: MSU 22.0, OM 21.0

Rebounding: MSU 35.9, OM 35.9

Rebound Margin: MSU -1.3, OM +3.2

Free Throw Shooting: MSU 71.9%, OM 75.4%

Turnovers: MSU -2.3, OM +0.7

BULLDOG NOTES: For their first nine league games there was a pretty direct correlation between how State shot the ball outside, or not, and the final score. Oddly though in their last two games the Dogs have shot well on the whole, 45.5%, and very well at the arc, 21-of-46, and still lost both times.

*Even more ironically, the Bulldogs have been outstanding at the foul line in defeats. In these last two SEC losses they are 28-of-34.

*While State fans bemoan officiating, the odd fact remains that in the last six games Bulldogs have made 87 free throws (110 shot) compared to just 89 attempts by the opponents (58 made)!

*Though still in minus-territory overall, Bulldog rebounding has improved lately. After losing the battle on the boards four times in five games, with a tie in the other, State has come away with more rebounds both the last three contests.

*At Kentucky the Dogs hit a SEC-season most 12 treys, but needed just 22 tries; 56% accuracy. In their last three games State has made 45% of long shots.

*G Dee Bost had ‘only' 16 points Tuesday night, just the fourth time this SEC season he has not led his team in scoring. That doesn't diminish his brilliant league campaign a bit as he averages 17.5 points and only twice has missed double-digits. Both were MSU wins, though.

*Bost played exactly 36 minutes in a three-game stretch despite a painful Achilles injury; then he topped that Tuesday with a season-high 39 minutes.

*In the last three games Bost is 11-of-21 at the arc, by far best on the club.

*All those treys gives Bost 154 in his three seasons and putting him 9th on the MSU career chart.

*But while throwing in all those threes the last few weeks, Bost has also thrown scoring passes with a SEC-leading 5.1 assists average.

*He's also attacked the glass better than ever with 16 rebounds the last four games…all defensive boards.

*The 33rd and newest member of MSU's 1,000 Point Club, Bost now has 1,053 points and is 31st on the scoring list having just passed Lawrence Roberts.

*Bost now has 400 career assists and needs 413 for top-five status.

*Bost has not fouled-out since the 2009-10 season opener, 46 games ago.

*He is now 12th in career steals at 121 and needs 127 for top-ten status.

*Bost has started all 83 games of his college career.

*C/F Renardo Sidney got back into double-digit scoring with 11 points at Kentucky. He's reached ten or more in 9 of 12 SEC outings, and had consecutive double-doubles last week.

*In his last four games Sidney has averaged 10.5 rebounds.

*But, Sidney is a good indicator of how the game will go. In SEC wins he has averaged 16.6 points; in losses 9.0.

*Or check his accuracy, as in SEC wins, Sidney has shot 32-of-60 from the floor. In the losses he is 21-of-51.

*And since hitting two treys at Ole Miss, Sidney is just 1-of-10 at the arc.

*Regardless of outcome though Sidney is reliable at the line. He is 28-of-37 on SEC free throws.

*For a four-game stretch F Kodi Augustus was on a roll, hitting exactly 50% of his shots. Now in the last three games he is 7-of-21 from the floor, and 0-of-7 at the arc.

*After an uncharacteristic two-rebound day at Auburn, Augusts bounced back for seven boards at Kentucky. He has 183 rebounds this season, just two shy of his entire 2009-10 total.

*And Augustus is State's most reliable free thrower this season at a career-high 82%. In just the last five games he is 20-of-21 at the stripe.

*Senior G Ravern Johnson is trying to play his way back into good graces after a two-game suspension and another pair of non-starting appearances. At Kentucky he was 4-of-5 at the arc, making twice as many treys as any other SEC game so far this season.

*Oddly, it was also the first game since early January that Johnson shot better at the arc than overall. Up to Tuesday he'd been hitting 49% of shots inside the arc and 26% beyond it.

*And he worked his way to the foul line to go 7-of-7 Tuesday. In the last five games he has played he is 23-of-25 on free pitches.

*Making those longballs Tuesday put Johnson back on the career track. He has 235 for his four seasons, third-best in program history. He need 258 for second place.

*Prior to his suspension Johnson had played 265 of 280 possible SEC minutes. Coming off the bench the last two games he's played just 44 of 80 minutes.

*Johnson broke into the 1,000 Point Club on opening night of this season. Since then he's bolted up to 14th on the list with 1,345 points, with former teammate Jarvis Varnado (1,403, 2007-10) coming up next.

*The replacement starter these last four games is G Jalen Steele. He struggled with shooting the first three times, 4-of-17 and 3-of-30 at the arc. But Tuesday night the freshman exploded for 6-of-9 shooting and 5-of-7 arc work.

*The 17 points of course was Steele's rookie year high so far. Oddly, he didn't make a single trip to the stripe Tuesday after going 6-of-8 there in the first three starts.

*Steele has issued five assists the last three starts, too. His season ratio is one to the good now, 22 assists and 21 turnovers.

*G Riley Benock is 7-of-12 at the arc in February, and did not attempt a shot in the Arkansas game due to a hurting shoulder. He has 44 treys this senior season, more than twice his best previous year's output.

*Take away the Arkansas game and Benock has provided 16 assists in a five-game stretch.

*Benock has been to the stripe just six times this month, and made every chance.

*Benock has picked up the defense lately, with ten steals the last four games.

*But he's also run afoul of refs and fouled-out three times this season.

Gene's Page Top Stories