College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, December 13, 2010
There are a slew of teams trying to stamp their identities on the NCAA map, but maybe none more than the Mississippi State Bulldogs, who were denied an invitation to the NCAA tourney last season, despite a fine, 23-11 record and a one-point loss to Kentucky in the SEC tournament final.
Relegated to the NIT, the Bulldogs defeated Jackson State before falling in the second round to North Carolina. Returning to the team that the NCAA snubbed is Ravern Johnson, a 6'7" senior guard who is a match-up nightmare for most opponents and leads the team in scoring at 23.8 points per game.
Getting through the "easy" part of the schedule in decent fashion, the Bulldogs improved their record to 6-2 with a 67-58 victory over Nichols State, holding their big-time scorer, Anatoly Bose, to 4-for-11 shooting (1-for-8 from three-point range) and a sub-par 17 points.
Johnson led all scorers with 23 points, nearly his average, which is 9th best nationally. Johnson was 4-for-14 overall, including 5 of 9 three-pointers. Johnson and his Bulldogs are flying a bit under the radar right now, even though their two losses were by one and two points. Keep an eye on this SEC West squad which may be making some serious noise come March.