January 12, 2013 12:39:41 PM
STARKVILLE - Mississippi State University coach Rick Ray finally just said it.
After the 56-54 victory against the University of South Carolina, he was asked if this grind-it-out and primarily defensive style was how they're going to win basketball games - not just for this trying season without much experience or enough personnel depth, but as long as he's in control of the Bulldogs program.
"That's just the way conference basketball is," Ray said. "The way basketball is anymore, it is low scoring and grinding it out. That's the way we're going to have to do it all the time - not just this year."
And with that, almost like an awakening for everybody looking forward to following this program, Ray declared his intentions for how he sees the direction of the MSU program.
Rick Ray's ultimate goal just seems as simple as getting everybody involved in the program (the athletic administration, his players and even the fans) to embrace the beauty of what some consider "ugly basketball" but he would call "hard working and grind-it-out" basketball.
You'll see in the statistical breakdown, it's not the correct word to describe it as "ugly", the proper word to describe Ray's offensive way of thinking should probably be: "responsible" or "efficient".
As MSU tries to win its first road game today at the University of Georgia (6-8, 0-1 in SEC), playing a low-scoring game in the 60s, will be exactly how MSU will try to go 2-0 in league play.
Here's the interesting thing: Nobody should've been surprised of this based on the branches of his coaching tree.
This is what MSU Director of Athletics Scott Stricklin wanted for his men's basketball program. Stricklin knows that Ray's commitment to defense, more motion offense instead of pick-and-roll action, a demand for hustle plays and discipline will be a vision he has to own as well.
"Rick fits the model of head coach we have sought to bring into our program over the last several years," Stricklin said. "He is bright, enthusiastic, disciplined and is a man of integrity. He has served with some of the top head and assistant coaches in college basketball and will bring a piece of all of them to our head coaching position."
The following is a statistical analysis of the offensive numbers of teams Ray was the assistant coach on before he arrived in Starkville.
- Points Per Game
2004-05 Northern Illinois (under head coach Rob Judson) 68.4 ppg, 10th in the Mid-American Conference
2005-06 Northern Illinois 71.2 ppg, 4th in the MAC
2006-07 Purdue (under head coach Matt Painter) 69.9 ppg, 4th in Big Ten Conference
2007-08 Purdue 68.6 ppg, 3rd in the Big Ten
2008-09 Purdue 69.1 ppg, 2nd in the Big Ten
2009-10 Purdue 67.4 ppg, 5th in the Big Ten
2010-11 Clemson (under head coach Brad Brownell) 68.5 ppg, 9th in the Atlantic Coast Conference
2011-12 Clemson 64.5 ppg, 9th in the ACC
Points Per Possession (a statistic I've always thought properly defines offensive execution)
2004-05 Northern Illinois 1.1 points per possession, 1st in the MAC
2005-06 Northern Illinois 1.1 points per possession, 1st in the MAC
2006-07 Purdue 1.1 points per possession, 1st in the Big Ten
2007-08 Purdue 1.1 points per possession, 5th in the Big Ten
2008-09 Purdue 1.04 points per possession, 7th in the Big Ten
2009-10 Purdue 1.05 points per possession, 6th in the Big Ten
2010-11 Clemson 1.05 points per possession, 7th in the ACC
2011-12 Clemson 1.02 points per possession 8th in the ACC
Effective Field Goal Percentage (The formula is (made field goals + 0.5 * 3P) / field goals attempted.
NOTE: This statistic adjusts for the fact that a 3-point field goal is worth one more point than a 2-point field goal. For example, suppose 'Player A' goes 4 for 10 with two threes, while 'Player B' goes 5 for 10 with no threes. Each player would have 10 points from field goals, and thus would have the same effective field goal percentage (50%).
2004-05 Northern Illinois 52.1%, 3rd in the MAC
2005-06 Northern Illinois 56%, 1st in the MAC
2006-07 Purdue 51.9%, 3rd in the Big Ten
2007-08 Purdue 50%, 8th in the Big Ten
2008-09 Purdue 50%, 7th in the Big Ten
2009-10 Purdue 50.6%, 8th in the Big Ten
2010-11 Clemson 50.3%, 5th in the ACC
2011-12 Clemson 48.3%, 7th in the ACC
Assists to Turnover ratio
NOTE: This is the statistic that would honestly suggest a style more toward the "ugly" than the "responsible".
2004-05 Northern Illinois 1, 4th in the MAC
2005-06 Northern Illinois 1.2, 2nd in the MAC
2006-07 Purdue 1, 8th in the Big Ten
2007-08 Purdue 1, 6th in the Big Ten
2008-09 Purdue 1.3, 4th in the Big Ten
2009-10 Purdue 1.28, 5th in the Big Ten
2010-11 Clemson 1, 8th in the ACC
2011-12 Clemson 1.05, 4th in the ACC
Turnovers per game
2004-05 Northern Illinois 14.5, 6th highest in the MAC
2005-06 Northern Illinois 13.4, 9th highest in the MAC
2006-07 Purdue 14, 5th highest in the Big Ten
2007-08 Purdue 12.8, 8th highest in the Big Ten
2008-09 Purdue 11.5, 7th highest in the Big Ten
2009-10 Purdue 10.9, 9th highest in the Big Ten
2010-11 Clemson 13.1, 7th highest in the ACC
2011-12 Clemson 12.1, 8th highest in the ACC
And here's where MSU (6-7, 1-0 in SEC) ranks in all of those categories during this 2012-13 season and you'll see the LONG ROAD Ray has to go with this Bulldogs program.
Points per game: 62.5 ppg, 12th in the SEC
Points per possession: 0.91, last in the SEC
Effective field goal percentage: 44.6%, last in the SEC
Assists to Turnover ratio: 0.56, last in the SEC (Also LAST IN THE COUNTRY)
Turnovers per game: 17.5, 2nd highest in the SEC
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.
2. Strange Sex, Familiar Sex BOOK REVIEWS
5. A Stone's Throw: Bridge work COLUMNS