On the Links: Hoops Column; LSU Updates

This week’s game: No. 22 MSU (7-2, 3-2 SEC) at No. 9 LSU (7-2, 3-2), Saturday, 6 p.m., ESPN (Brad NesslerTodd Blackledge and Holly Rowe)

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No football stuff in the paper today, because I wrote my column on the basketball team. The gist of it: Wins aren’t going to define the Bulldogs this season. It’s more a matter of the players conforming to coach Rick Ray‘s style of play and the attitude he wants to see each game.

Just remember this: Since the end of last season, MSU has seen four players leave before their eligibility expired, two were dismissed, and two more are out for the season with injuries. There are 10 healthy players – barely enough to run five-on-five during practice – and two of those guys are walk-ons.

Ray said he and his assistants have sat down and gone through rotation possibilities, and said the goal is to make sure nobody plays more than 30-32 minutes a game on average. Assigning minutes isn’t necessarily the problem.

“Our problem is some of the guys are inexperienced are probably going to be playing more minutes than what they probably are used to or should be getting at this level right away, and you’re relying on them,” Ray said Wednesday. “There’s really nothing to hold them accountable as far as having somebody else you can put in there if they’re making mistakes. That’s the one thing you worry about, is having accountability, because there really is no backup to the backup.”

I’ll have more on the Bulldogs and their season opener at Troy in Friday’s Journal.

• Some LSU links: LSU receiver Russell Shepard has accepted a different role as a senior. … Here’s some post-practice video of Les Miles. … And here’s some video of LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery, who’s really good at tackling people in the backfield.

I am the online content coordinator for DJournal.com. Previously at the Journal, I covered Mississippi State athletics (2008-13), high schools (2004-08), and was on the copy desk (2002-04). I'm working on a recipe for bacon-flavored coffee, which would solve all the world's problems.

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