/This is Vic Schaefer’s best coaching job yet

This is Vic Schaefer’s best coaching job yet

There was reason to expect a drastic drop in success after two consecutive Final Fours, and an incredible 132 wins over four seasons. Schaefer was losing 33 and 22 points per games to McCowan, Anriel Howard, and Schaefer. This hasn’t happened. Not at all. It was not. The Bulldogs defeated a very good Arkansas team, 92-83. They are already guaranteed a No. They will be seeded 2 in the Southeastern Conference Tournament in Greenville, South Carolina next week. This is the best coaching job Schaefer did since 2012, when he arrived at State. It’s not hard to see: Three of his players had played in all 36 games last year. Schaefer says that the average age of this year’s State squad is 19. This is what you can expect at Hinds Community College and not the SEC. These Bulldogs continue to win despite having a 13-member roster, which includes four freshmen as well as four sophomores. It’s a tricky balance: Teaching, correcting mistakes and stress-working ethic, without making young people feel unsure and losing their confidence. Every time you think State’s lack of experience is about catch up, they respond with an act like Thursday night. They lost two consecutive games to No. 3 Stanford and West Virginia. They then won eight consecutive games. They lost nine points and took a nine point lead on Jan. 20. South Carolina was ranked No. 1 with a score of 81-79. They won 16 games at Vanderbilt three nights later. This was their first of six consecutive SEC wins, five by double figures. The Bulldogs’ most devastating loss was Sunday at home when unranked Alabama beat them 66-64. (Don’t be surprised if the Bulldogs lose at home to unranked Alabama, 66-64. Schaefer later criticized his team for their toughness and lacking of “someone to step up when it gets tough.” So everyone rose up against Arkansas. Tough? Two days after being quarantined, star freshman Rickea Jackson spent 16 minutes with strep. We’ll be talking more about her. The Bulldogs’ win Sunday at Ole Miss will give them 25 wins for the sixth straight season. That’s a lot of success! This piece began with the fact Schaefer believed he would replace four starters last year. In August, Jordan Danberry, a guard from the graduate program, was granted another year of eligibility. Schaefer got one back. Danberry is as fast and agile as any female athlete we have ever seen. She averages 12.3 points per games, plays tenacious defense, and has contributed 72 steals to the team. Although McCowan was the only one who could replace her, Jessica Carter, a sophomore from the University of Maryland has been able to contribute 14 points and nine rebounds per games. Schaefer believes Jackson should be named the national freshman champion. Jackson’s freshman numbers are comparable to those of Victoria Vivians (an ex-All-American who won the Gillom Trophy for Mississippi’s top woman’s player in each of her four seasons at State). Vivians averaged 14.9 points per contest as a freshman while scoring 37 percent from the floor and adding five rebounds. Jackson, 18 years old, averages 14.7 point and five rebounds per match while shooting 48% from the floor. These numbers are almost identical, aside from Jackson’s superb shooting. Schaefer says, “Before the end, Rickea might have been the best ever.” This is coming from a man who is anything but a perfectionist. He lamented the team’s infancy, their inability to follow a scouting reports and the fact that they have lapses on defense. They are 24 and 5 and almost certain to host an NCAA sub-regional. This team could also be hot enough to make it deep into the NCAA Tournament. The bad news is that they should get even better over the next few seasons, when perhaps a few of them will legally purchase a beer.