January 12, 2010 9:17:00 AM
STARKVILLE -- Everyone connected with the Mississippi State basketball team pretty much agreed Monday afternoon that they can''t worry about the University of Georgia until they deal with the University of Arkansas.
The challenge the Bulldogs have this week is playing two Southeastern Conference games in three days.
After playing host to the Razorbacks at 6 p.m. Thursday (SEC Network), MSU will take on the Eastern Division Bulldogs at 2 p.m. Saturday (ESPN2), also at Humphrey Coliseum.
The new television package has created the imbalance in scheduling that causes some SEC teams quick turnarounds toward the end of the week.
It puts MSU coach Rick Stansbury and his staff in a tough position, but he said the only way he knows how to handle it is on coming up with a plan for Arkansas.
"I haven''t even thought about Georgia. I have no clue," Stansbury said. "That''s going to be the challenge with these Thursday-Saturday matchups. The thing about this league, everyone has to do it."
Once the Bulldogs get the Arkansas game behind them Thursday night, they''ll spend Friday focusing on Georgia.
MSU sophomore point guard Dee Bost feels the next two opponents have similar styles, so getting ready for one might serve well for both.
"We''re going to play (Arkansas) the same way we play Georgia," Bost said. "We''re just going to go hard every day in practice this week so we can turn around and play Georgia the next game."
Stansbury said the players have done a good job of thinking about one opponent at a time.
"Our kids have been pretty good in preparing to play," Stansbury said.
Lost in the shuffle
It appears to be just an oversight by Stansbury as to why freshman forward Wendell Lewis didn''t play Saturday against the University of Mississippi.
After playing in the first 15 games entering the SEC opener against the Rebels, Lewis didn''t play in Oxford.
Stansbury said it was his decision not to play Lewis (2.3 points and 2.1 rebounds per game), and that it had nothing to do with disciplinary reasons.
"It just happened," Stansbury said. "We didn''t go into it planning not to play him."
Instead of Lewis, Stansbury gave the minutes to 7-foot-1 freshman John Riek.
Stansbury said it will be a "wait-and-see" situation to see how much playing time Lewis gets in the future.
Mum on Sidney
Usually, Stansbury gives the general quote "we can''t worry about what we don''t have" quote when it comes to freshman Renardo Sidney, who is still waiting to be cleared by the NCAA.
After the events of the weekend where Sidney''s attorney Donald Jackson was critical of the MSU athletic department about its handling of the case and the release of a "statement of facts" by the NCAA, Stansbury appeared irritated about the recent developments.
On Friday, Stansbury issued a statement along with other MSU officials. On Monday, he declined to discuss the matter.
"I can''t comment on it," Stansbury said. "If don''t know if (MSU Associate Athletic Director of Compliance) Bracky Brett will comment on it, but I''m not going to comment on it."
1. Schaefer, MSU are 'heartbroken' no longer LOCAL COLUMNS
2. Starkville High's Perry shows his versatility HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. Noxubee County will miss Patterson LOCAL COLUMNS