The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

James: MSU men’s hoops needs offensive utility amid March Madness

Brooks Surber
Head coach Chris Jans’ team stands at a 19-10 overall record.

Arguably the best time of year in all of sports is upon us.

March Madness is just around the corner for dreams to be made and hearts to be broken. For Mississippi State University’s men’s basketball team, it means punching their ticket into the NCAA Tournament and seeking their first tournament win since 2008.

However, the path to that will not be too easy. Along with the impending SEC Tournament, the Bulldogs need to close out strong. They have a prime opportunity to do so when they host no. 18 South Carolina in Humphrey Coliseum on Saturday.

The key to reaching the Bulldogs’ goals in March is not just from head coach Chris Jans’ versatile defensive schemes and adjustments, but it is also on the offensive board.

Freshman guard Josh Hubbard has made his mark in Starkville, and it is only year one. He currently leads the team in points per game (16.2) and has recorded 20+ points in his last three games. Hubbard will have to continue his hot streak in order for the Bulldogs to close the season on a high note.

Brooks Surber

However, this is basketball. Players are bound to get cold and the offense cannot rely on Hubbard alone. That is where they bench, and veterans need to come in.

Forward Tolu Smith, on his best nights, is one of the best men in the SEC. In addition to this, Keshawn Murphy needs more minutes on the court. While he did not have his best game against the Tigers over the weekend, his presence alone would help space out the offense and create more confidence on the court.

The biggest issue, however, is of course the shooting, especially at the free throw line.

The Bulldogs this season are shooting 66.9% from the charity stripe, which ranks 320 among NCAA Division I men’s basketball teams and is the worst in the SEC.

In some games, it felt like it would have been a much closer contest if it were not for the struggles at the free throw line. Now that we are about to enter the postseason, it is crucial the Bulldogs get the easy points along with the other shots made on the court.

In the end though, the Bulldogs need to have consistency on the offensive end of the ball in order to make a postseason run this month. There is only so much time left, and the Bulldogs need to plan and prepare wisely and accordingly.

With that in mind, do not forget that this is college basketball. Anything could happen between today and the end of the month, and perhaps there is a chance the Bulldogs can create chaos in whatever bracket they end up being selected into.

As a wise man once said, this is March.

About the Contributor
Colin James
Colin James, Staff Writer
Colin James is a senior communication major. Colin is currently a staff writer for The Reflector.
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