#41 Mississippi State Men's Basketball 2021-2022 Preview

Mississippi State Bulldogs
2021-2022 Overall Rank: #41
Conference Rank: #7 SEC
 Mississippi State Logo
Mississippi State has seemingly been perpetually on the bubble under Coach Ben Howland. That has only resulted in one trip to the NCAA Tournament though. This year should be much of the same. Three starters are gone, but Coach Howland returns two double-digit scorers and brings in four quality transfers and a decent crop of freshmen.
2020-21 Record: 18-15, 8-10
2020-21 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Ben Howland
Coach Record: 116-82 at Mississippi State, 515-290 overall
Key Departed Players:
D.J. Stewart Jr, Guard, 16.0 ppg
Abdul Ado, Forward, 5.9 ppg
Jalen Johnson, Guard/Forward, 5.2 ppg
Delvon Smith, Guard, 5.2 ppg
Quinten Post, Forward, 2.8 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Iverson Molinar, Junior, Guard, 16.7 ppg
Tolu Smith, Junior, Forward, 12.6 ppg
Derek Fountain, Sophomore, Forward, 5.4 ppg
Justin Rumph, Senior, Guard, 3.0 ppg
Cameron Matthews, Sophomore, Guard/Forward, 2.7 ppg
Javian Davis, Junior, Forward, 2.6 ppg
Anderson Garcia, Sophomore, Guard/Forward, 2.3 ppg
Key New Players:
Rocket Watts, Junior, Guard, Transfer from Michigan State
Shakeel Moore, Sophomore, Guard, Transfer from NC State
Cam Carter, Freshman, Guard
Garrison Brooks, Senior, Forward, Transfer from North Carolina
KeShawn Murphy, Freshman, Forward
D.J. Jeffries, Junior, Forward, Transfer from Memphis
Alden Applewhite, Freshman, Forward
Juniors Iverson Molinar and Tolu Smith with be the leaders of this team. Molinar led the Bulldogs with 16.7 points last season and connected on 43.6 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. Smith added 12.6 points per contest and a team high 8.5 rebounds. Derek Fountain is a promising sophomore who played well in his 19 appearances. Players like Cameron Matthews and Javian Davis were part of the regular rotation in 2020-2021 and will look to play larger roles this time around. Rocket Watts from Michigan State and Shakeel Moore from North Carolina State will add some proven options on the perimeter. Watts averaged 7.7 points and 2.7 assists with the Spartans last season and Moore tallied 6.8 points per game as a freshman. Incoming freshman Camryn Carter is a talented shooting guard who has the tools to make an impact in an increasingly crowded backcourt. The frontcourt will have just as many options thanks to the addition of Garrison Brooks and D.J. Jeffries. Brooks was a starter at North Carolina for the better part of four years. He had his best season in 2019-2020 when he averaged 16.8 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists. Jeffries comes from Memphis where he tallied 9.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists last season. Coach Howland did a good job of finding proven players to help fill his roster. As long as all of the pieces come together effectively, Mississippi State should find themselves on the right side of the bubble this time.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 69.3 (229th in nation, 12th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 66.8 (75, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.4 (91, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.4 (28, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.4 (318, 13)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.3 (145, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 65.8 (306, 13)
Rebound Margin: 7.0 (19, 1)
Assists Per Game: 13.0 (181, 8)
Turnovers Per Game: 15.1 (296, 12)
Madness 2021 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#119 KeShawn Murphy
#126 Camryn Carter