#14 Mississippi State Men's Basketball 2018-2019 Preview

Mississippi State Bulldogs
2018-2019 Overall Rank: #14
Conference Rank: #4 SEC
 Mississippi State Logo
Mississippi State finally took a step forward last season under Coach Ben Howland. After two campaigns in which the team failed to surpass the .500 mark, the Bulldogs won 25 games last season. It was not good enough to reach the NCAA Tournament, but the team got some postseason experience while making a run to the NIT semifinals. With their top six scorers returning, the expectations are getting very high in Starkville and anything less than the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2009 would be disappointing.
2017-18 Record: 25-12, 9-9
2017-18 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Ben Howland
Coach Record: 55-45 at Mississippi State, 454-253 overall
Key Departed Players:
Xavian Stapleton, Guard, 6.4 ppg
Eli Wright, Guard, 3.0 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Quinndary Weatherspoon, Senior, Guard, 14.4 ppg
Aric Holman, Senior, Forward, 10.9 ppg
Nick Weatherspoon, Sophomore, Guard, 10.8 ppg
Lamar Peters, Junior, Guard, 9.6 ppg
Abdul Ado, Sophomore, Forward, 7.8 ppg
Tyson Carter, Junior, Guard, 8.9 ppg
E.J. Datcher, Junior, Center, 2.2 ppg
KeyShawn Feazell, Sophomore, Forward, 1.4 ppg
Key New Players:
Andrew Junkin, Freshman, Forward
Reggie Perry, Freshman, Forward
D.J. Stewart, Freshman, Guard
Jethro Tshisumpa, Junior, Forward, JC Transfer
Robert Woodward, Freshman, Guard
Prince Oduro, Sophomore, Forward, Transfer from Siena, not eligible
Quinndary Weatherspoon is the senior leader of this team and is coming off an all-around superb 2017-2018 campaign in which he averaged 14.4 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.4 steals. Quinndary’s younger brother, Nick, had a fine freshman season, averaging 10.8 points and 2.1 assists. Like his older brother, Nick is an all-around playmaker. The backcourt is filled out by junior point guard Lamar Peters. He is a superb defender and a good leader on both ends of the floor. The concern on the perimeter is their outside shooting. There are shooters on this team, but both Weatherspoon’s and Peters were very inconsistent from beyond the arc. Tyson Carter should again provide a nice spark off the bench. Aric Holman, a 6-10 forward, was by far the team’s most consistent outside shooter, connecting on 44.0 percent of his long range attempts. Holman is a consistent interior scorer as well and the team’s top rebounder. Abdul Ado is coming off a very good freshman campaign in which he averaged 7.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocks. Despite the top six scorers returning, Mississippi State expects to get some help from their group of newcomers. Reggie Perry highlights the group of freshmen and the athletic forward will make a big splash offensively. With Robert Woodard, D.J. Stewart and transfer Jethro Tshisumpa also joining the mix, this is a Bulldogs team that suddenly has a lot of depth. With that new found depth, Mississippi State should not only reach the NCAA Tournament, but also compete for an SEC title.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.4 (181st in nation, 9th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 67.8 (55, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.5 (76, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.8 (57, 7)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.9 (246, 10)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 31.9 (323, 12)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.1 (263, 11)
Rebound Margin: 2.0 (106, 7)
Assists Per Game: 13.3 (200, 8)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.1 (187, 10)
Madness 2019 NBA Draft Rankings:
#40 Lamar Peters
#45 Nick Weatherspoon
#62 Aric Holman
Madness 2018 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#28 Reggie Perry
#55 Robert Woodard II
#150 D.J. Stewart