Mississippi State Basketball Should Continue to Improve Under Ben Howland

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 27: Aric Holman
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 27: Aric Holman /

Year Three Has Been Pretty Good, Year Four Can Be Even Better

Mississippi State basketball sure had one heck of a run in that National Invitation Tournament. The Bulldogs battled Nebraska close in Starkville, beat Baylor’s comeback bid on a buzzer beater, blew Louisville to pieces on their court, and then ultimately fell apart at the end.

But this season was a special one. It felt good for Mississippi State to make a postseason appearance of any kind. Like taking a shower after digging a trench through mud. So many years of poor showings by Mississippi State basketball and then a great run in the NIT.

Yes, it sucked to see the Bulldogs blown out at the end. Seeing Penn State drain 3’s and rain down a firestorm on Mississippi State was, well, unfortunate. But, Mississippi State is a young team that is growing.

The Bulldogs will be back next year. Mississippi State basketball will have a chip on its shoulder. Partially because MSU didn’t make the tournament when so many teams that it beat did. Also partially because of how this one ended.

Mississippi State basketball is bringing back every major contributor to this team.

On top of that fact, the Bulldogs are supplementing their existing talent with a strong recruiting class. That doesn’t make last night’s results any easier to swallow. Yes, the road for 2017-2018 ends in New York City.

But, Mississippi State is building something special in Starkville. Ben Howland is creating a winner that’ll compete in a constantly improving Southeastern Conference.

2018-2019 has the makings of something special. Quinndary Weatherspoon, Aric Holman, and Xavian Stapleton will all be seniors. They’ll have another year under their belts and they’ll be looking to build resumes to make it to the NBA. They’ll also want to build a sustaining legacy at Mississippi State

All of those youngsters on the roster will be another year older. Another year wiser. Another year of more experience. Hopefully another year to develop mildly better shot selection from downtown.

Next: This Season Ended Abruptly, Next Season Should be Better

Mississippi State will be back next year. The Bulldogs have assembled pieces to make a team that is truly great. The Bulldogs went 25-12 this season, made a run at the NIT, and made Humphrey Coliseum a rough place for opponents to play. Get the Bulldogs to claim a few road wins and you’re looking at a team that’ll compete amongst the best in next season’s tournament.