BASKETBALL REWIND: Mississippi State (15-3, 3-0 SEC)

By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal

Looking back: MSU picked up a pair of home wins last week, but in vastly different fashion.
After nearly blowing a 19-point lead, the Bulldogs held on for an 82-80 victory over Arkansas on Thursday. Then they rallied from 13 down over the final 4 minutes, 8 seconds in a 72-69 win over Georgia on Saturday.
Looking ahead: MSU is off until Saturday, when it visits Alabama (11-6, 1-2) at 11 a.m. The game will be televised by CBS.
Who’s hot: Last week, senior center Jarvis Varnado averaged 15.5 points, 13.0 rebounds and 8.0 blocks per game. Sophomore point guard Dee Bost averaged 17.5 points and 6.5 assists.
Who’s not: After a decent game against Arkansas, junior sharpshooter Ravern Johnson hit just 2 of 11 shots versus Georgia, including 1 of 8 from 3-point range. He’s currently second in the SEC in 3-point field goal percentage (47.0).
RPI watch: MSU is up to 44 in the RealTimeRPI.com rankings, fourth-highest in the SEC.
Early in the season, that ranking was as low as 146. With three consecutive wins, the Bulldogs could jump back into the rankings.
Bottom line: MSU’s last two games have shown just how good it can be when things are working. That’s when the 3-point shots are falling, Bost is driving and dishing, and coach Rick Stansbury’s two staples for success are present: defense and rebounding. When they’re bad, the Bulldogs are very beatable, especially in a league that appears to be deeper and tougher than last season.
So what MSU needs to find is consistency, because the schedule doesn’t get any easier.

Click video to hear audio