Last season, the Mississippi State Bulldogs were one of the worst teams in the SEC. Due to the relative youth of the team and injuries to their star players like Jalen Steele, the Bulldogs never stood a chance at making the NCAA tournament or even competing in the SEC from early on in the season. The low point of their season was a 95-49 loss to the North Carolina Tar Heels.
This season, however, there will be signs of hope for Mississippi State. Sophomores Craig Sword, Fred Thomas and Gavin Ware are potentially some of the most talented Sophomores in the SEC. Sophomore Andre Applewhite is able to play after missing all of last season with an injury. The Bulldogs are young, but they have the potential to do big things.
Mississippi State has one of the easiest non-conference schedules in the SEC. They play practically no one until their SEC opener against the No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats. Although a weak non-conference schedule would hinder most teams in the NCAA, the Bulldogs will benefit from it.
Because of the relative youth of Rick Ray’s team, confidence is the key to their success. All of their expected starters should return for the 2014-15 season and fight for a place in the 2015 NCAA tournament, So a lot of wins, even against lesser opposition, could help shape this Bulldogs’ team into something really special.
Mississippi State should look forward to a 2014 NIT berth. Their non-conference schedule is too easy, and their conference is far too difficult for them to make it to the 2014 NCAA Tournament. However, winning the 2014 NIT could definitely be a possibility this season. The Bulldogs’ future is bright with Ray at the helm and Sword, Thomas and Ware on the court.