By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
– Looking back: MSU lost to Western Division leader Alabama on Wednesday, 75-61, and then controversy ensued when senior guard Ravern Johnson sent out Twitter messages critical of coach Rick Stansbury and MSU fans. Johnson was suspended for Saturday’s game at LSU, but the Bulldogs won anyway, 58-57.
– Looking ahead: After two road games, State is home Wednesday for a game against up-and-down Arkansas (14-8, 4-5). Then it sets out again for Auburn (8-15, 1-8) on Saturday.
– Who’s hot: When he can stay on the floor, sophomore Renardo Sidney has shown he’s really good. Foul trouble limited him to 19 minutes at Alabama, when he scored 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting. He logged 31 minutes against LSU and recorded his first career double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. He shot 7 of 16.
– Who’s not: Senior forward Kodi Augustus has been quiet, scoring 21 points while collecting only five rebounds over the last two games. His turnover problems continue, as he had five against Alabama and now has a team-high 66 on the season, an average of three per game.
– RPI watch: In the past week, MSU’s RPI rank has risen 25 spots to 143rd in the country, according to RealTimeRPI.com. That’s progress, at least.
Looking ahead, Arkansas is 109th in the rankings, while Auburn is 275th.
– Bottom line: The Alabama loss was ugly, but winning on the road without Johnson should help the Bulldogs put that behind them. MSU got some good help from reserves and fill-in starter Jalen Steele in the win, and point guard Dee Bost played strong defense at the end. The main concern right now is whether point guard Dee Bost, who played Saturday with a strained Achilles’ tendon, is going to be healthy enough to stay in the lineup.