The Bulldogs return home to the
The Bobcats enter on the heels of a very impressive home win against
They have 3 double figures scorers in their three games-Guards Casey
What to expect from MSU:
The Bobcats feature a very experienced backcourt and will rely on them to carry a fairly young team outside of their trio of guards. They have a very defensive oriented system and coach Huse stresses excellence on that side of the floor. They also have a true center in Mbunga, a facet they have not been accustomed to. Expect him to cause problems on the interior for a thin and weak Bulldogs frontcourt.
The Bulldogs enter off of a painful and embarrassing loss down in
Guard Tyson Parker will give up his redshirt and make this his senior season as he felt it was best for the team. Both Tyson and Coach Cleveland wanted him to come in as an experienced guard in 08-09 to be a leader on what will be a young team, but he has elected to play now.
The Bulldogs are averaging 70.5 points per game, including 4 double figure scorers in Kevin Bell (19.3 ppg, 6 apg), now injured Dwight O’Neil (13.4 ppg, 2 spg), Eddie Miller (11.8 ppg) and Bryan Harvery (11 ppg). With the loss of O’Neil for an extended period of time, these three need to increase their scoring load, moreso from Miller and Harvey who will see increased minutes.
The obvious issues for the Bulldogs are the 7.5 rebound deficit per game, the 61% team free throw shooting percentage, and yielding 44.5% field goals to their opponents. The fact remains this shorthanded team needs to find ways to win and must do all of the little things to stay competitive. They must make a concerted effort on the boards and improve the overall defensive effort.
What to expect from the Bulldogs:
There isn’t really such a thing as a “must win” this early in the season, but the Dogs need a win to stop the bleeding not only following a 2 game skid, but to help ease the tension surrounding the program both on the court with injuries but also off the court with suspensions.
It is up to Kevin Bell and the guards to lead this team over the Bobcats. Coach Cleveland needs his team to come out with energy and show a spark on both ends of the floor, getting the positive vibe going. They will be forced to motivate themselves most likely, due to what will be a sparse crowd at SMC. This is a role where freshman Ned Golubovic could really help his team.
Its gut check time for the Bulldogs, how will these players and coaches react when their backs are inching ever closer to the wall?
The Dogs find a way to win and grit one out, but they will struggle and may even be sluggish early, in fact I expect it. They key is to keep the deficit under 10 and not allow momentum to grow for the Bobcats.
Dogs win 71-66.