2017 has come and gone. A recap of 2017, along with a few 2018 resolutions, has already been posted on the FWTCT website and everyone should go check them out. For my first piece of 2018, I wanted to take a look ahead and give a few predictions and perhaps some hot takes, as they might be called, regarding MSU sports in 2018:
MSU will have 2 Defensive Lineman finish as All-Americans next year, Montez Sweat and Jeffery Simmons. Our defense will be nasty next year, especially in the trenches. Assuming Sweat returns to Starkville as many believe he might, our defensive line should be Sweat, Braxton Hoyett, Simmons, and Chauncey Rivers. A reminder Rivers was our top rated JUCO recruit in 2016, but due to some academic issues, he was forced to redshirt. He is a former Georgia player who is a VERY good DE. I expect our sack total to come close to 50 next year.
Our Men’s Basketball team will make the NCAA tournament. Yes I did go there. I know our nonconference schedule and RPI leave a lot to be desired from a resume standpoint, but fresh off a ranked win, I have a feeling these Dawgs will knock off a few more ranked opponents this year. Vandy, Tenn, and USC are all potential ranked opponents that will come to Starkville this year where the Dawgs are undefeated thus far. We should be able to hold serve at home in the games we should win, and maybe steal a few road games against lesser SEC opponents. The Dawgs could be right at that mid to upper 20’s wins to get in the tourney. This one is tough, but I believe it can be done.
Our Women’s Basketball team will make it back to the National Championship game…..and win. Our Lady Dawgs are playing very well and seem to be building off their run last year. The new players are acclimating quickly and the veterans are stepping up as expected. I anticipate our veterans will step up even more come tourney time and navigate the early rounds. In the Elite 8 and Final 4, expect Victoria Vivians and Teaira McCowan to be superior to anyone on the floor and carry us back to the Natty Title game. I expect UCONN to be waiting there. We will have to play another perfect game like last year. Our core veterans of Vivians, McCowan, and Morgan William will have to contribute big time as we play one last miracle card to knock off the Huskies AGAIN to win a Natty Title.
We will have 2 National Champions this Spring. Nuno Borges of our Men’s Tennis team is primed to win the NCAA Men’s Singles National Championship after claiming the Fall ITA National Title. He is perhaps the best singles player to ever play at MSU and I expect him to deliver and bring home the title. I also expect him to lead our Men’s team to the Elite 8 in the team competition (bonus prediction).
Andy Cannizaro takes the Diamond Dawgs back to Omaha. CLEAR YOUR JUNE, DAWGS by 90. My love for Cannizaro and his ability to lift 22 metric tons is well known on social media. With that said, I am completely unbiased when I say I believe this team will be taking us back to Omaha this summer. This team may not have the 2016 complete package but neither did 2013. What this team can and should be able to do is pitch. With the returning pitchers, and countless pitchers we have returning from Tommy John/injury, our pitching staff is loaded and talented. We should be able to roll arm after arm out there with little stress about their ability to get the outs we need. With Konor Pilkington, a potential 1st rounder leading on Fridays, I expect the rest of the staff to lock it down the rest of the weekend. Canni will find a way to average 4-5 runs a game which is all we should need. BOOM. Go ahead and book your flights folks.
There you have it, lock it in stone. Fortune favors the bold. I look forward to each of these predictions falling apart piece by piece but until that happens, I will stand by all of them.