February 10, 2009
Mississippi State point guard Dee Bost moved into elite status Monday.
Bost learned from MSU officials he had become the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week for the second time this season. He becomes the third second-time honoree of the award, joining Alabama''s JaMychal Green and Ole Miss'' Terrico White.
"It''s a great honor for me, but I''m just trying to focus on the second half of the season," Bost said. "I just want to go out and be more consistent."
In wins against Kentucky and Arkansas, Bost averaged 17.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game for the Bulldogs (16-7, 6-2 Southeastern Conference).
"It''s very obvious he''s playing well for us," Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury said. "That''s a great team honor even though it''s an individual honor. If you don''t win those games, you don''t get those honors. That''s the way I''ll always look at individual honors."
Bost, who averages 10.5 points for the season, scored a career-high 25 points against the Razorbacks in an 86-77 victory. He had 17 points in a 70-56 win at Arkansas.
It seemed Bost was at his best against the Razorbacks.
"That young man has come in as a freshman and overachieved," Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey said.
Bost will be involved in a matchup between the SEC Freshman and SEC Player of the Week on Wednesday when Mississippi State plays host to the LSU Tigers.
LSU senior guard Tasmin Mitchell was honored as SEC Player of the Week after he averaged 21.5 points and 10 rebounds in the past two games.
Florida and LSU lead each division of the SEC midway through the conference season.
The Tigers (7-1) are one game ahead of the Bulldogs in the Western Division, while the Gators (6-2) are one-half game ahead of South Carolina (6-3) in the Eastern Division.
"You are constantly trying to get your team better," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "I think our team has gotten better. Since our season started we have gotten better, how much more remains to be seen, but we have gotten better."
To hold their position in the East, the Gators must go into a the tough environment of Rupp Arena and beat the Kentucky Wildcats tonight.
"This is a real good Florida team that keeps getting better," Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie said. "We''re excited about the opportunity to play them."
If Florida slips, it could give the Gamecocks an opportunity to be on top of the East by week''s end.
South Carolina first-year coach Darin Horn hasn''t been surprised by his team''s fast start in the SEC.
"We felt like this team could be good," Horn said. "We have been impressed with our players. Each game is such a different challenge, but these guys have really responded. I''ve been really pleased with these guys and how they''ve handled themselves."
Bracketology of SEC
ESPN''s bracketology expert Joe Lunardi said Monday on ESPN radio that he expected the SEC to get five teams into the NCAA tournament field.
He felt that assessment was generous.
"I''m still showing five probably because I''m the only one in America who is putting Kentucky into the field," Lunardi said. "You''ve got LSU out of the West and three more out of the East with Tennessee, Florida and South Carolina. I''m not sure they''ll finish with five, but they''ll get at least four."
Alabama interim head coach Philip Pearson said it was a good thing the Crimson Tide have a week off to get ready for the next game.
It might take that long for freshman post player JaMychal Green to get back in shape.
Green took a hard fall Sunday against LSU and hurt his hip.
"There wasn''t any way he was going to continue in the game," Pearson said of Green, who is receiving treatment for the injury. "We bused back from Baton Rouge and he was stiff. He saw the trainer already (Monday) morning and our trainer feels like with a couple of extra days this week, we should have him back by Saturday."
Dealing with 0-8
Georgia interim coach Pete Herrmann said there is nothing easy about what his program is going through.
He wants to keep moral as high as possible even though the Bulldogs are in the cellar with an 0-8 mark.
"That''s always a concern, no matter what kind of streak you have," said Herrmann, who replaced Dennis Felton, who was fired late last month. "We''re trying to get to a point where we are playing 35 of 40 minutes of solid basketball. We have breakdowns a couple of minutes that really hurt us and we''ve got to work on that. We''re trying to stay positive."