College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, March 14, 2010
Let's go out on a little bit of a limb here and say that ESPN's Joe Lunardi (their bracketology expert) and the tournament selection committee is all wet if the Mississippi State Bulldogs don't catch a bid into the NCAA field.
Even though the Bulldogs lost a heartbreaker to Kentucky in the SEC final, losing in overtime by a 75-74 score, it was the second time this season they took the Wildcats into OT. They lost at home and now lose again here, but how can anyone deny that they are a quality team?
The very first player to receive Player of the Day honors this season will also be the last prior to the tournament. Jarvis Varnado kept the Bulldogs in the game with a superior effort of 18 points, 8 rebounds and 6 blocked shots. The man is simply the best shot-blocker in the history of the NCAA, a fact proven by career stats.
Even though they ended their season on the short end of the scoreboard, the Bulldogs provided future opponents of Kentucky with a game plan. Spread them out, shorten the game, hit a bunch of treys and send the Wildcats to the line. It almost worked for the Bulldogs, and should have, except for DeMarcus Cousins' tip-in with 0:00.1 left on the clock, which sent the game into overtime.
Along with the Bulldogs, the Minnesota Golden Gophers, currently playing Ohio State for the Big Ten championship and an automatic bid, ought to get into the field. Again, Lunardi has had the Gophers on the outside looking in at various stages of development over the weekend.
If Lunardi is even partially right and one of these two teams doesn't get in, I will publicly heap profuse praise upon him in an upcoming post. If both Minnesota and Miss. St. make the field, I reserve the right to call Lunadri whatever names I choose, whenever I please. Childish? Yes, but, after all, we're only talking about basketball games.