The upcoming 2018-19 season is a huge one for Mississippi State basketball. After going over .500 for the first time since 2013 last year, the Bulldogs are poised to make a huge leap this season. They are returning all of their top contributors last season and are adding a decent recruiting class, making them a pre-season favorite to bust into the Top 25. However, there are still many questions marks in Starkville. There top players all have their own flaws and will be competing in the rising SEC. There are a couple different ways this season could go for the Bulldogs, and we are going to take a look at how the season could go well or badly for MSU:
Best Case Scenario: the Bulldogs begin competing at the top of the SEC and make the NCAA Tournament
Mississippi State has steadily been improving the past few years, but this is the year they finally break into the national spotlight. After going 25-12 last year and .500 in conference (both firsts since 2012), the Bulldogs are finally able to make some post-season noise. Currently projected the fourth best team in the SEC, MSU will need to make sure to take care of their business with the lesser teams in the conference and really battle with Tennessee, Auburn, LSU, and (hopefully) Kentucky.
One determining factor for how MSU’s season will go is star senior Quinndary Weatherspoon’s play. Weatherspoon had another solid season last year, averaging 14 points and 6 rebounds per game, but his shooting also took a large step back from when he was a sophomore. The 2nd Team All-SEC guard will need to be the primary scorer for the Bulldogs, and will need to do so more efficiently in order for the team to have success. If (when) that happens, Weatherspoon will become one of the best players in college basketball and could potentially raise his NBA stock.
The Bulldogs supporting cast will also get the potential to be one of the best in the country. Senior forward Aric Holman shot an incredible 44% from three-point land last year and if he can repeat that on a larger stage, he will be recognized as one of the best shooters in basketball. Guard-trio Lamar Peters, Nick Weatherspoon, and Tyson Carter round the backcourt out, who are all crazy talented. If they shoot well and don't turn the ball over, MSU will sport an incredible offense. Down low, second year big man Abdul Ado will be a double-double machine and will be the anchor of the Bulldogs defense.
If everything goes according to plan, Mississippi State will do very well this season. The Bulldogs have every chance in the world to end up a Top-25 team, do well in the SEC, and be dancing in the NCAA Tournament for first time since 2009. Only time will tell, but I and many others have high hopes for the Bulldogs this year.
However, things do not always go as planned. Be on the lookout for my worst case outlook for the Bulldogs in the near future!