On the Links: Bulldogs Start Strong … So, What’s Possible?

Well, as we enter the second week of SEC play, MSU sits atop the league standings at 2-0 along with four other teams, including Ole Miss. You can read about that in our basketball overview in today’s Journal.

There’s plenty of hoopage in the paper. You can find my MSU rewind, which looks at the two wins last week, the RPI situation, what’s coming up, etc. My man Parrish Alford also has some stuff on the Rebels if you’re interested. There is more basketball to come, as we’ll hear from MSU coach Rick Ray as well as Alabama coach Anthony Grant on today’s SEC coaches teleconference. The Bulldogs (7-7, 2-0) and Crimson Tide (9-6, 1-1) meet Wednesday night in Starkville.

We’ll also speak with Ray in person this afternoon at his weekly press conference, and we’ll catch up with some players, too.

With the way MSU has started league play, you have to at least ask the question: Will this team exceed expectations, and by how much? The Bulldogs were picked to finish last in the 14-team SEC prior to the season, but now it looks like Georgia and South Carolina will be battling for that distinction. More wins could come MSU’s way simply because the league as a whole is very weak this season; the SEC ranks eighth in RPI, and its strength of schedule is ninth.

Given the way State has played – lots of effort, stubborn on defense, resourceful with a thin bench – you have to think there are a few more winnable games out there. At some point, though, you figure fatigue will become a factor with a team so young. It certainly can’t afford any more injuries. It’ll be interesting to watch.

It gets extra tough starting Saturday, as MSU has back-to-back road games against Tennessee and Arkansas, then a strong Florida team at home. Two more home games follow that one (Texas A&M and LSU). Then it’s a trip to Ole Miss on Feb. 6.

I am the online content coordinator for DJournal.com. Previously at the Journal, I covered Mississippi State athletics (2008-13), high schools (2004-08), and was on the copy desk (2002-04). I'm working on a recipe for bacon-flavored coffee, which would solve all the world's problems.

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