It’s a good problem to have for Ole Miss basketball coach Andy Kennedy. Or is it? There are so many guards available for Kennedy this season that he’s had a hard time singling out three to four he can put on the court at one time. After Chris Warren, Eniel Polynice and Trevor Gaskins went down with knee injuries last season, it left Kennedy scrambling to find a productive guard to help emerging freshman Terrico White.
Coach Anthony Grant knows defense is a key to the style of basketball he wants to play at Alabama. That’s how the Crimson Tide opened the Southeastern Conference schedule with a 66-49 victory against LSU this past Saturday. With Alabama struggling to shoot the basketball, Grant said “our defense carried us.” The Crimson Tide shot only 45 percent (27 of 60) from the field, including 21 percent (3 of 14) from 3-point range.
CoCo Ware has high aspirations for the East Mississippi Community College men’s basketball team. The EMCC sophomore believes the Lions have the potential to have a season to remember. “If we keep playing the way we’re playing we will win the state and we will win the region and advance to the national tournament and compete for the national championship,” Ware said.
STARKVILLE -- Columbus High School girls basketball coach Yvonne Hairston wasn’t surprised to see a senior pull down the game-securing rebound. When Jessica Richardson came down with the rebound as the final buzzer sounded to give the Lady Falcons a 72-71 victory against Starkville High School, Hairston was happy to see the turn of events. Hairston has come to expect Richardson to be in the right place at the right time.
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.
Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen now has two vacancies to fill on his defensive staff.
STARKVILLE — Too long. Too deep. Too good. Those factors were just some of the reasons why Sunday turned out to be an easier afternoon than expected for the No. 4 University of Tennessee women’s basketball team. Angie Bjorklund and Glory Johnson tied for team-high scoring honors with 16 points, and Tennessee used a smothering half-court defense that set the tone in a 75-48 victory against Mississippi State before a crowd of 5,787 at Humphrey Coliseum.
OXFORD -- It was a day when a sophomore point guard grew up. After Dee Bost only had 13 points and five assists for Mississippi State in a 55-52 loss at Western Kentucky this past Monday, coach Rick Stansbury had a heart-to-heart talk with him. Stansbury knew his sophomore point guard was capable of having a better game. On Saturday against Ole Miss, Bost did just that. Bost responded in Mississippi State’s first Southeastern Conference game of the season and out-played Ole Miss junior point guard Chris Warren to lead the Bulldogs to an 80-75 victory in front of 9,360 at Tad Smith Coliseum.
Friday was an eventful day in the eligibility case of Mississippi State freshman basketball player Renardo Sidney, who hopes to still get a chance to play for the Bulldogs sometime this season. After Sidney’s attorney Donald Jackson came out with criticism of the MSU athletic department with the way it’s handled the investigation of his client to this point, the NCAA Eligibility Center sent out a notification of “statement of facts” in the case. The NCAA has been investigating Sidney’s status as an amateur athlete since he signed with Mississippi State on April 30, 2009, and everyone connected with the case believes the release of “statement of facts” was a positive move. The “statement of facts” spells out findings from the six-month investigation to indicate if there are any violations with Sidney.
History will be made today at Humphrey Coliseum. For the first time in her coaching career, Pat Summitt will bring a senior-less University of Tennessee women’s basketball team to Starkville. Mississippi State hopes it will be able to make a different kind of history when it takes on No. 4 Tennessee (13-1, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) at 1 p.m. today (SEC Network). The Lady Bulldogs (11-4, 2-0) are the only team in the SEC that hasn’t defeated the Lady Volunteers. Eight-time NCAA champion Tennessee leads the all-time series 30-0.
OXFORD -- Ole Miss basketball coach Andy Kennedy was crying foul Saturday afternoon. It wasn’t because he was upset with the officiating during the Rebels’ 80-75 loss to Mississippi State, but it was more directed to his team. The Bulldogs made more free throws (22) than Ole Miss attempted (13) and Kennedy was concerned that MSU had 33 attempts.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State has answered ESPN’s call. When the sports television network expressed an interest in showcasing one of its football games on Thursday night, Mississippi State was willing to accommodate. MSU Athletic Director Greg Byrne announced Thursday that the Southeastern Conference opener against Auburn has been moved to Sept. 9. It will be the 14th time the Bulldogs have played in ESPN’s Thursday Night game, but the first since 2007.
Barry Stewart’s defensive skills will be put to the test Saturday. The Mississippi State senior guard will have to switch from guarding the talented University of Mississippi duo of sophomore Terrico White and junior Chris Warren. While Stewart plays his usual off-guard spot, he’ll have to defend White. When he’s asked to spell sophomore Dee Bost at point guard, Stewart will have to deal with Warren. That’s the challenge Stewart will face when the Bulldogs travel to Oxford to play their Southeastern Conference rival at 12:30 p.m. (WCBI).
STARKVILLE — Melanie Balcomb crowed about the Mississippi State women’s basketball team at Southeastern Conference Media Day. The Vanderbilt coach knew MSU was tough after losing in Starkville last season, and she realized the Lady Bulldogs were going to be even tougher this season with four starters returning. “It blew my mind,” Balcomb said when told media members picked MSU to finish fifth in the league. “I haven’t seen a coaches poll, but that is the first thing I looked at and said, ‘How can you pick Mississippi State fifth?’ To me that is totally out of line.”
University of Alabama men’s basketball coach Anthony Grant will find out how at 4 p.m. Saturday (FOX SportsNet South) how his fast-paced style of play will work in the Southeastern Conference when his team opens the league part of its schedule at Louisiana State University. Grant knows Alabama (10-4) is still learning his system, but he likes the progress. “In every game, we learn a little bit more about what it takes to be successful,” Grant said. “We have eight healthy guys now that we’re going with, so with every game I think we’ve had to adjust and make some changes. I think our guys have responded well.”
University of Florida men’s basketball coach Billy Donovan has watched his sport’s tradition grow in the Southeastern Conference the past 20-25 years. He understands the league still has the reputation as being a football league first, but he believes basketball is catching up. Donovan thinks the SEC’s 15-year television agreement with CBS Sports and ESPN can help strengthen that standing. With only Mississippi State, Tennessee, LSU reaching the NCAA tournament last season, Donovan said the lack of exposure is the main reason.
Mary Kathryn Govero didn’t set out Sunday to deliver the production of two players. But with senior guard/forward Tysheka Grimes not able to play Sunday against Auburn, Govero knew she had to do something to help the Mississippi State women’s basketball team in its Southeastern Conference opener.
STARKVILLE — Renardo Sidney remains a topic of conversation. Mississippi State men’s basketball coach Rick Stansbury said Wednesday not much has changed about the status of the freshman forward.
STARKVILLE — The Mississippi State women’s basketball team will have to find a way to get along without Tysheka Grimes for a little longer. MSU coach Sharon Fanning-Otis said Tuesday that Grimes (foot injury) won’t play at home against No. 17 Vanderbilt at 8 p.m. Thursday (CSS) or against No. 4 Tennessee at 1 p.m. Sunday (SEC Network) in Starkville. Grimes injured her foot Friday in practice. Fanning-Otis said Grimes will be re-evaluated Monday, and the hope is she will be back sooner than later.
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