January 9, 2012 12:54:00 PM
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State returns home still trying to figure exactly well for lack of a better term.....what happened in Fayetteville Saturday night?
Bulldogs coach Rick Stansbury talked during the Southeastern Conference media teleconference about the problems his team has defensively and handling pressure.
"The game we just come off of, they hit us in the mouth early, and I don't know if we ever recovered from it," Stansbury said. "They just kept coming at us. They played great. they did things different ways I hadn't seen them do."
One of the problems the 14-year veteran addressed was the inactivity of the Bulldogs shooting guard pair of senior Brian Bryant and sophomore Jalen Steele (8 points, 3 turnovers, 1 assist vs. Hogs on Saturday).
To translate Stansbury's time on the teleconference, the MSU coach would simply like to have those two players go get the basketball when Bost is in trouble because SEC head coaches are not going to stop pressuring the Wooden Award nominee and the Bulldogs have had trouble getting the ball back in Bost's hands to run the offense when he's pressured and out of timeouts.
"I didn't think Jalen (Steele) and Brian (Bryant) as that other guard out there made a lot of things happen, which they've got to do when people trap Dee," Stansbury said. "Those guys have got to go make some basketball plays."
When asked why Sidney was asked to come off the bench for the first time during the 20011-12 season at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville, Stansbury didn't go into much detail into the decision except saying it was not a disciplinary issue.
"Just my decision not to start him," Stansbury said.
MSU (13-3, 0-1 in SEC play), who is ranked No. 20 in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches' poll, will return to Humphrey Coliseum to play Tennessee Thursday night and the Volunteers knocked off 19th-ranked Florida 67-56 in Knoxville this weekend. Volunteers head coach Cuonzo Martin brings a more half-court defensive philosophy by being an East St. Louis native that played for former Purdue coach Gene Keady with the Boilermakers and then spent eight seasons as an assistant on the Purdue bench before he averaged 20 wins per season at Missouri State.
"They're going to play man-to-man," he said of the Vols. "They're going to be aggressive. They get into you in the halfcourt. They really guard you in that halfcourt."
Martin said the number one objective for Tennessee heading into their matchup in Starkville is denying the basketball to 6-foot-11 junior forward Arnett Moultrie.
""They score really well on the blocks and on the perimeter," Martin said. "So it'll be one of those deals where we really have to do a good job of trying to keep pressure on the ball and trying to keep the ball out of the post. Really it's just trying to make him work to get the ball, because If he gets the ball in a comfort zone, it's going to be a long night."
All of the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers: feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/matthewcstevens for up-to-date Mississippi State coverage.
4. Blowing through History BOOK REVIEWS