Rothstein Files: Baylor-Mississippi State Has High Level Feel
By Jon Rothstein
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Rick Stansbury doesn’t need a scouting report.
All it takes is a few minutes of film to recognize just how tough it’s going to be for his Mississippi State team to beat Baylor on Wednesday night in Dallas.
“They don’t have many weaknesses,” Stansbury said of Baylor on Tuesday. “They’re as good as anyone in the country.”
The match up between the two teams poses as good of a non-conference game in college basketball as you’re going to get in December.
The Bears are a perfect 12-0 and already have wins over San Diego State, Northwestern, BYU, Saint Mary’s, and West Virginia. The key according to Baylor coach Scott Drew has been unselfishness.
“I love the way our team goes about its business,” Drew said on Tuesday. “No one cares who gets the credit.”
Mississippi State meanwhile, has been sparked by UTEP transfer Arnett Moultrie. The power forward is averaging 17.8 points and 11.7 rebounds per game and will be tested by Baylor’s talented front line of Perry Jones, Quincy Acy, and Quincy Miller.
“I knew he had the ability but you never know what a guy is going to do until the lights come on,” Stansbury said of Moultrie. “His engine has never stopped.”
The combination of Moultrie, freshman wing Rodney Hood, and Renardo Sidney are one of the reasons why the Bulldogs are more than capable of matching up with Baylor’s versatility.
“The thing that scares me about them is they’re just as deep and athletic as we are,” Drew said of Mississippi State.
BUCKETS FOR BRADY:
Balance may be the the biggest asset for this Baylor team but they have found a legitimate go-to-scorer on the perimeter in Boston College transfer Brady Heslip.
The 6-foot-2 sharpshooter is averaging is averaging 15 points per game during his last four contests and has made 20 of his last 30 shots from the field.
“The people who spend the most time in the gym are often the best shooters,” Drew said of Heslip. “That’s what makes Brady who he is.”
Mississippi State senior point guard Dee Bost has a big fan in the man who will coach against him on Wednesday night.
“He’s so under publicized across the nation,” Drew said of Bost. “He’s as good as a guard as there is in college basketball.”
The 6-foot-2 Bost has played the most complete basketball of his career during the Bulldogs 12-1 start, something his coach attributes to maturity.
“He’s gotten to the point where whether or not he’s scoring doesn’t affect his play,” Stansbury said of Bost.
THIS AND THAT:
– Myles Mack appears to be thriving as a sixth man for Rutgers. The 5-foot-9 guard is averaging 19 points in the two games he’s spent as Mike Rice’s top reserve and look for the former St. Anthony’s product to stay in that role to limit the Scarlet Knights’ scoring droughts. Rutgers next hosts Florida on Thursday night at the RAC and Mike Rice’s team could get freshmen forwards Malick Kone and Kadeem Jack back from injury when they travel to South Florida on New Year’s Day.
– In order for Seton Hall to stay competitive with Syracuse at the Carrier Dome on Wednesday night, they’ll need some pop from freshman guard Aaron Cosby. The Pirates’ first-year sniper has made eight three-pointers in his last three games and will have to make some outside shots if Kevin Willard’s team has a chance to hang around in the Carrier Dome.
– St. John’s may not have the depth they need to win in the Big East — but they do have talent. Red Storm freshmen D’Angelo Harrison and Moe Harkless dominated Providence from start to finish last night in the team’s conference opener and showed flashes of why this team can be a factor down the road. It will be up to this team’s ancillary pieces to give St. John’s the supporting cast it needs moving forward for the rest of the season.
– Notre Dame’s Mike Brey continues to prove why he’s one of the nation’s most underrated coaches. Despite heading into last night’s game against Pitt with a eight and five record, Brey calculated a terrific game plan that spaced out the Panthers and got a career-night from big man Jack Cooley who grabbed 14 rebounds. The Irish may not have the pop they’ve had in recent years but they have Brey — and that’s a major weapon in itself.
– It’s time for Pitt forward Dante Taylor to turn the switch. After being recruited by Jamie Dixon as a McDonald’s All-American coming out of high school, Taylor has been a marginal contributor for the Panthers during his first two seasons and needs to make a jump as a junior if this team is to finish in the top quarter of the Big East.