Mississippi State Basketball: Bulldogs Lose, Tourney Bubble Close to Bursting

Ari KramerSenior Analyst IIMarch 9, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 11:  Renardo Sidney #1 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs leaves the court dejected after loosing to the Vanderbilt Commodores during the quarterfinals of the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament at Georgia Dome on March 11, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Commodores defeated the Bulldogs 87 to 81.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Mississippi State fell to Georiga in the first round of the SEC tournament, and with the loss, the Bulldogs—of MSU—are on the edge of the bubble. SportsCenter just reported that Joe Lunardi listed Mississippi State as the third-to-last team in the field.

Now 21-11, Mississippi State's No. 65 RPI should fall a few spots, leaving the Bulldogs' fate out of their own hands. In other words, they'll need some other bubble teams to lose—Texas' win over Iowa State certainly didn't help.

The Bulldogs started 12-1, beating Texas A&M, Arizona and West Virginia along the way. Though those wins seemed important at the time, they hold much less weight now. The Aggies are currently No. 164 in the RPI while the Wildcats and Mountaineers stand at No. 82 and No. 51, respectively.

Mississippi State went just 2-4 against teams in the RPI Top 50, and losses to Georgia (twice), LSU and Auburn severely weaken the Bulldogs' resume.

Generally, the selection committee tends to favor teams who finished hot over teams who finished cold. That's why UConn found itself on the bubble, but the Huskies earned a spot by beating DePaul and West Virginia and taking Syracuse to the wire.

Unlike UConn, Mississippi State couldn't advance in the conference tournament after going 9-10 in its last 19 games.

You have to search hard to find something that will favor the Bulldogs, who lost six of their last eight games. They won at Vanderbilt, and they might be aided by the fact that Detroit won the Horizon League. However, the Titans were just 5-7 when they lost to Mississippi State.

Beating Alabama—No. 32 in the RPI—might improve Mississippi State's chances, but the Crimson Tide, who entered the first matchup at 13-3, went just 8-7 down the stretch.

Against feeble SEC competition.