Mississippi Valley State brought to the Hump just about the perfect recipe for getting a big road upset: 3-point shooting, hard-nosed defense, and an opponent that can’t find their range. Good news for Mississippi State basketball fans, that lasted for only about the first 12 or so minutes of the contest. Mississippi State pulled away in the second half to lock up an 82-52 victory, staying a perfect 8-0 on the season.
Jans’ squad settled in and started getting creative on the offensive end with sharp passing and guys willing to get the assist over the points. MVSU was sharp from three, keeping them on pace early, while State was tasked to break their 2-3 zone that they ran as well as any team this has seen so far. But, this team adjusted like we haven’t seen MSU squads of late do so effectively, to put away an inferior opponent like quality teams are supposed to do.
This team’s inability to convert at the free-throw line will cost them games.
I know that it has been talked about on this site before, but man, 67% from the line is going to really hurt when we get to conference play and they’re the difference of a win and a loss in hostile territory. I really don’t know what more to say other than it simply has to be better. They’re getting in and drawing fouls, stressing the defense, but then they don’t make them pay when it’s time to convert.
The Bulldogs are rebounding machines.
This team has the size and it has shown on the boards game and game again this season. Seeing 2-3 guys follow a shot for the offensive rebound absolutely warms my heart. That is the key to balancing out shooting in the 40% range, making sure you are winning yourself extra possessions on the offensive end. MSU was +19 in rebounds, with 19 offensive boards. That is gritty ball that and I love it.
Saturday at Minnesota is the Bulldogs’ first true road game.
A couple of neutral-site tournaments were great, it gave them an idea of the travel flow, how to take their game to a foreign arena, and stay loose against teams I’m sure they never thought they would play in December. But Saturday, after a long week of “rest” with finals, will be their first time on another campus. Jans’ last time coaching against a power 5 team on the road was 2019 against Arizona. His NCAA experience last year, of course, is what likely secured him the job, but it is not a setting is well versed in by any means.
I’m excited to have another opportunity to watch the Bulldogs play basketball next Saturday, Hail State & Go Dawgs.