Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mississippi State Tries To Outsmart The Schedulers

In an expected move, Mississippi State has added another game to their out-of-conference schedule, adding a December 29th game against Saint Mary's in Las Vegas. This was expected because of the Dee Bost suspension announced a couple of weeks ago. Some quick math on the suspension led to the calculation that Bost would return on January 13th, for Mississippi State's second SEC game. By scheduling an additional out-of-conference game, it means that Bost will fulfill his suspension in time for their SEC opener against Alabama.

Obviously Mississippi State will be worried about every single game this season. They are likely going to be a bubble team, and the difference between a 10-6 or 11-5 record in the awful SEC West could mean the difference between the NCAA Tournament and the NIT.

That said, I don't see any writer pointing out that this is a move that can backfire. Alabama is not going to be good this season, and Mississippi State should be able to take care of business at home even without Bost, particularly since Renardo Sidney should be finally comfortable in the lineup by then (his suspension, which caused him to miss all of last season, will allow him back into the lineup for their December 18th game against Virginia Tech). So they probably won't need Bost to win the game.

In addition, Saint Mary's is going to be a good team. Maybe not as good as last season, but definitely bubble quality. And Mississippi State is going to be playing the game in Las Vegas while heading back home from the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii. So they're asking these kids to play games in Hawaii, then fly to Las Vegas and play a game there, all without stopping at home, and all during Christmas break. It's asking a lot of any athletes to perform near their best in that situation. I'll see how these teams play in November and December in the run up to the game, but if I had to bet right now I'd make Saint Mary's the slight favorite. And a loss for Mississippi State there would more than wipe out a win over Alabama on their resume.

It's for that reason that I thought Mississippi State might just try to schedule a cupcake in December so that they could get Bost back without risking another loss. We'll have to see if their gamble pays off.

No comments: