Well, another season is in the books. With a season that started off with such promise, having everyone but Jarvis back again, adding Sidney, and look what happened. Something has to change. Year after year, it appears that the Bulldogs have the talent to make a run at an SEC title, and they come up flat. Is it talent? Is it coaching? Is it both? No one thing appears to be the problem. The talent is solid. Some live up to expectations, other do not, but the recruiting classes have been there. Has Sidney caused this team to self-destruct? Did waiting on the clearance from the NCAA to play all of last season and the fighting/suspensions from this season cause unknown damage to the team? Did the transfer of Hansborough set the program back 2 years? He had an excellent season this year, but probably wouldn't have been at MSU anyway (5th year senior). Do you go all the way back to Ellis? Did his commit then jump to the NBA set us back 2 years? No one can answer those questions.
Stansbury has done a great job at MSU. He is the winningest coach in MSU history. He took over a team in shambles two years after the 1995-96 run to the Final Four. He has taken the team to the NCAA tourney 6 times, won the west 2 times, the SEC tournament twice. Here is a list of the records, tournaments and results (pulled from MSU Athletics page):
1998-99 20-13 .606 8-8/t-3rd (W) NIT (1st Rnd)
1999-00 14-16 .467 5-11/t-5th (W)
2000-01 18-13 .581 7-9/t-4th (W) NIT (Quarters)
2001-02 27-8 .771 10-6/2nd (W) NCAA (2nd Rnd)
2002-03 21-10 .677 9-7/1st (W) NCAA (1st Rnd)
2003-04 26-4 .867 14-2/1st NCAA (2nd Rnd)
2004-05 23-11 .676 9-7/3rd (W) NCAA (2nd Rnd)
2005-06 15-15 .500 5-11/4th (W)
2006-07 21-14 .600 8-8/t-1st (W) NIT (Semifinals)
2007-08 23-11 .676 12-4/1st (W) NCAA (2nd Rnd)
2008-09 23-13 .639 9-6/1st (W) NCAA (1st Rnd)
2009-10 24-12 .667 9-7/1st (W) NIT (2nd Rnd)
Overall, doesn't look bad right? MSU has only been to the NCAA tournament TEN times and SIX have come under Stansbury. Take a closer look at a particular aspect of those games: NCAA Tournament Games.
2002 - 3 seed, beat McNeese St, lost to 6 seed Texas. Texas lost the next game.
2003 - 5 seed, lost to 12 seed Butler. Butler won one more game.
2004 - 2 seed, beat Monmoth, lost to 7 seed Xavier. Xavier won one more game.
2005 - 9 seed, beat Stanford, lost to 1 seed Duke. Duke lost the next game.
2008 - (best appearance since '96 in my opinion) - 8 seed, beat Oregon, lost to 1 seed Memphis (74-77). Memphis lost in the Finals.
2009 - 13 seed, lost to 4 seed Washington. Washington lost the next game.
With the exception being 2008, MSU has played poorly in the NCAA tournament against opponents that they were supposed to beat. Just something for everyone to keep in mind. With the seniors leaving off this years team, and the questions around Sidney, is next year going to be any better? A good recruiting class appears to be on the way, but do any of them have the size/skill to step in as a freshman? Rebounding killed MSU this year. Is there a solution in the works for that? All good questions that we will find out as the offseason unfolds. Comments are always welcome. Thanks for reading.