Mississippi State basketball needs more from veteran players in SEC contests

The Mississippi State Bulldogs struggled for consistency on the road against the Florida Gators. Can they turn it around moving forward?

Jan 24, 2024; Gainesville, Florida, USA; Florida Gators head coach Todd Golden and Mississippi State
Jan 24, 2024; Gainesville, Florida, USA; Florida Gators head coach Todd Golden and Mississippi State / Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports
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One key reason why the Mississippi State Bulldogs lost on the road against the Florida Gators is how the veteran players on the Mississippi State basketball roster truly struggled to find any sort of consistency in Gainesville. If the Bulldogs are going to play to their full potential at any point this season, then that can't continue to happen.

And it seems like Mississippi State basketball head coach Chris Jans is more than aware of that fact. In his postgame press conference, Jans was asked about how important it would be to get the veteran starting presence to play up to their potential earlier in the game (especially on the road in the SEC).

And Jans discussed the matter, but he also took time to highlight how Shakeel Moore played a gritty performance even when he wasn't physically 100 percent healthy.

“Shakeel Moore needs to be commended for playing. He was very sick, and he didn’t attend practice leading into the game," Jans explained. "He didn’t even attend shootaround today. He decided to try to warm up and gave us the thumbs up. He didn’t play great in the first half, but he gave us solid minutes [in the second half]. He was on fumes in the locker room after the game."

So, while we can talk all we want about how the Bulldogs' starters may have underperformed, it's worth remembering that there are sometimes circumstances that limit player effectiveness because these guys are still human.

All that said, Jans did call for more from his seasoned vets when it comes to big games like this.

Mississippi State basketball's veterans need consistently to step up in big games

"But we definitely need some guys that have been there, done that, to play better," Jans noted. "You mentioned some guys that need to do that. It’s hard to win on the road, and we just have to play better.”

There's no shortage of experience on this Mississippi State basketball roster. Between the sheer number of returning starters in the lineup as well as the experienced and talented transfer portal additions the Bulldogs got, MSU should be performing better in games like this.

But there are opportunities up ahead for the Bulldogs to take care of some of these issues. It starts Saturday as the Mississippi State men's basketball team hosts the Auburn Tigers. And beyond that, MSU will need to find a way to steal a few road games.