By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
– Looking back: MSU built some significant momentum last week, beating Arkansas 88-78 for its second consecutive road win, then downing South Carolina 60-58 on Saturday at home in the Bulldogs’ regular-season finale.
– Looking ahead: It’s postseason time, as the Bulldogs have a few days off to prepare for the SEC Tournament in Atlanta. They have a first-round bye and will get the winner of LSU vs. Vanderbilt at 9 p.m. Friday at the Georgia Dome.
– Who’s hot: For the third week in a row, the hot hand remained with senior guard Ravern Johnson. In the last two games, he’s shot 50 percent from the floor and 54.6 percent from 3-point range. Johnson scored 25 points against Arkansas and 21 – with seven 3-pointers – against South Carolina.
– Who’s not: As far as his shooting, point guard Dee Bost continues to struggle, going 5 of 18 from the field last week. A hamstring and Achilles’ tendon are both bothering him, but Bost is refusing to use that as an excuse.
– RPI watch: The Bulldogs have rocketed 20 spots since last week, to 111th in the nation, according to RealTimeRPI.com. At this point, of course, RPI is irrelevant for State, which can only reach the NCAA tournament by winning it all in Atlanta.
– Bottom line: Coach Rick Stansbury said his team is playing its best basketball of the season, but players said there are still plenty of things to improve upon. Either way, the Bulldogs are as confident as they’ve been all year, and heading into the tourney on a three-game winning streak, they could be considered a dark horse to win it – just like in 2009.