|FOUR FACTORS||Vanderbilt||Mississippi State|
Jackson Clarion-Ledger: Mississippi State snaps skid with strong offensive performance against Vanderbilt
Starkville Daily News: Mississippi State 80, Vanderbilt 62, men’s college basketball final
VUCommodores: Dores fall to Miss. St., 80-62
When you’re 6-12 overall, and 1-5 in the SEC, in the middle of January, you start to worry about losing the team entirely.
There are certainly valid reasons to give up on the season; after all, at 6-12, you practically have to go through the rest of the season unblemished to even sniff the NCAA Tournament. Hell, you have to go 10-3 just to get considered for the NIT. Vanderbilt’s 2017-18 basketball season is, for all intents and purposes, over already.
If fans are already checking out on the season, you can’t really blame players and coaches for also checking out on the season. You’re playing out the string at that point, and that’s where you get things like Ejike Obinna playing 22 minutes in an SEC game. Obinna had played a grand total of 30 minutes in the team’s previous ten games, and didn’t play at all in seven of those — but he played 22 minutes on Tuesday night in Starkville and actually led the team in scoring.
It’s not clear if that was done because Bryce Drew wants to get him minutes to build for 2018-19, or if Bryce Drew decided that some of the other players on the team weren’t giving him the effort he wanted, but it doesn’t matter at this point. Somebody’s checking out on the season, and while I’m not going to, I don’t blame you if you do too. This season’s going nowhere, and you have permission to come back in November.
|Larry Austin Jr.||16||2||2||0||0||0||0||0||1||1||1||4||2||0||0||1||8.8||0.55|
- If you had Ejike Obinna posting the team’s highest Game Score in an SEC game, go buy yourself a lottery ticket.
- If you had Ejike Obinna posting the highest Game Score in an SEC game and it being a legitimately good game (and not just an “everybody else was terrible” game), please give me your stock-picking advice.
- If you also had Larry Austin Jr. tied for the second-highest Game Score in an SEC game where Obinna led the team, well... you’ve probably set your grandchildren up for retirement at this point too.
- Riley LaChance’s mysterious disappearance in the second half was noted by a few. I will say that LaChance taking only four shots is probably not in the team’s best interest, and probably why we’re losing by 18 to Mississippi State.
- Clevon Brown was fine. If Bryce Drew is playing for next year, at least “next year” was looking okay in this game.
- Payton Willis got his first start of the season and made the most of it. This wasn’t the greatest game for Willis, but it’s good enough to keep him in the starting lineup at least.
- Saben Lee’s a freshman and will have his ups and downs, but it’s nice to see that his downs aren’t really all that bad.
- When Jeff Roberson is playing like, well, that, Vanderbilt has no chance.
- Joe Toye played 20 minutes! Joe Toye wasn’t actively hurting the team while playing 20 minutes! Progress!
- The coaching staff likes Max Evans’ upside and I do too, but at this point there’s no reason for him to be playing ahead of Willis, and that’s the main reason his minutes have suddenly dropped.
- Djery Baptiste stunk up the joint last night; there’s really no way around that.
- Not seen here: Matthew Fisher-Davis, who missed the game with a shoulder injury he suffered in the Kentucky game. Hey, if you thought this season couldn’t get any worse...
Well, the McDonald’s All-American Game is on March 28.
In seriousness, Vanderbilt hosts LSU on Saturday at noon CT; that game will be televised on the SEC Network. KenPom gives Vanderbilt a 48% chance of beating the team that was picked to finish last in the SEC at home. Do you need any more signs that this season is going terribly?