Any tournament aspirations for the Mississippi State basketball team in 2016 are gone, but there are still things the team can strive for.
Ben Howland had a monumental rebuilding project when he took the head coaching position for the Mississippi State basketball team. It was a far more difficult task than any fan of the team anticipated.
Yes, this year’s Mississippi State basketball team had a plethora of seniors on the team. Yes, the Bulldogs had two highly rated freshmen on the roster. Yes, the team received a vast upgrade in coaching when they parted ways with Rick Ray and hired Ben Howland. The one thing they didn’t get was a substantial upgrade in talent level.
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But the Bulldogs, more specifically the many seniors on the 2016 squad, want to see some the team start to string together some wins. Craig Sword, Gavin Ware, Fred Thomas, and Travis Daniels have seen a lot of losses in their time in Starkville. So much so, when the game gets close in the final minutes, the team often has no idea how to respond to the pressure of trying to win a game. The team can finish the season on a positive note, and Coach Howland would love to send those players out with at least one season with more wins than they had losses.
But most importantly, the Mississippi State basketball team needs to finish strong to show the players coming in what they have to look forward to when they arrive on campus. There will be at least two four star sophomores to mix in with a highly rated recruiting class in Aric Holman and Quindarry Weatherspoon, and possibly a third if Malik Newman decides to come back for his sophomore season. The new players need to believe it is possible to win at Mississippi State.
There isn’t any doubt the 2016 Mississippi State basketball season has been a disappointing one. We hoped this team would make great strides with a new coaching staff. But getting this team to a more respectable record would do wonders for the program not only in 2016 but also in 2017 and years beyond.