If Vic Schaefer was still in Starkville...

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If Vic Schaefer was still in Starkville then MS State would almost certainly be a top-10 team, could quite possibly be a top-5 team, and it's not a massive stretch to think they could currently be the #1 ranked team. Before you dismiss this as fantasy thinking by a fan, consider the following (which BTW has nothing to do with comparing the coaching abilities of Vic Schaefer with those of Nikki McCray Penson).

If Vic Schaefer had stayed on as head coach, MS State would be significantly better in at least 3 ways:
1) Returning players would be familiar with the offense and defense right from the start. Also, the coaches would have a much better understanding of each players strengths and weaknesses, how to best communicate with each player, etc.
2) Transfers Lauren Ebo and Kyra Lambert, plus freshman Deyona Gaston would all be in Starkville instead of Austin. This would add a veteran guard to the roster plus much needed help at the 4 position. It would also free up Sidney Cooks to help backup the 5 spot. (It's possible that Chloe Bibby would have also stayed, but I'm not factoring that into my argument.)
3) The coaching staff would be much more knowledgeable with regard to opposing SEC teams and players (such as Texas A&M and South Carolina).

I think it's fair to say that MS State would have far better continuity going into this season, a stronger roster, and would be better prepared for opposing teams if Vic Schaefer had stayed in Starkville. It's not a stretch to say that these improvements would have been enough to turn the overtime losses against Kentucky and South Florida into wins. IMO, the 86-78 loss to Alabama and the 86-80 loss to Arkansas become wins as well. Stop right there and MS State is 12-2 with 4 wins over top-25 teams and the only losses being to #5 Texas A&M and #2 South Carolina, certainly good enough for a top-10 ranking. Considering that Coach Schaefer almost beat Texas A&M with his Texas team this year, it's not crazy to think that MS State could have won that game and at 13-1 they would then be the team ranked #5. And while it would definitely be an upset, is it too hard to believe that Vic could have won in Starkville against South Carolina this year, putting the team at 14-0 and at the top of the ranking?

Naturally this is all speculation and the truth of the matter is that MS State is currently 8-6 and unranked. I don't see that as an indictment against Nikki McCray Penson. No new coach is going to have the continuity or the knowledge of the league like that of a returning coach. And there was no way she could keep Schaefer from diverting those 3 players from Starkville to Austin. She is playing with a totally different hand than what Vic would have held if he had stayed--the difference between what is and what could have been. (BTW, I was originally for Johnnie Harris to be promoted because of reasons #1 and #3 above. However, the drawback was her lack of head coaching experience PLUS she would have had to bring in a totally new staff since Vic was taking everyone else to Austin. When I looked at what NMP did at Old Dominion, I switched over to thinking she was the better choice and I continute to believe that she will end up proving to be an excellent choice.)
 

SimpleDawg

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See this argument is not based on much is my issue. There's no evidence McCray is gonna have success apart from wishful thinking. Not even evidence to suggest we're going to stay above .500 in league play next year. If she can't stay above .500 with this roster, she's sure as not gonna do it next year.


Cooks, Mingo, and Carter are probably gone next year. Don't see how any of them could get any better here.

Jackson, Matharu, and Hayes are toss-ups. None have necessarily reached their ceilings and their jobs aren't in danger. If we can keep them, then it's definitely better odds.

Morris has already checked out. Not a big loss, ok I can accept that.

Wiggins and Taylor I think will stay.


Will all 9 of these players leave? Probably not. But if you truly get to a worst case scenario, you're essentially taking Taylor, Shavers, and Tai Yanna Jackson against the SEC next year...... and that's a 4-12 year.

It's gonna be hard to convince anyone that McCray is going to end up doing an excellent job while going below .500 in her first 2 years when she inherited a national juggernaut team that went to 2 out of the last 3 National Title games.
 
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SimpleDawg, I wrote a long post that had almost nothing to do with NMP or the future, and you wrote a long reply totally off topic. I get it, you hate NMP and you love the Schaefer family so much that you want Blair back as the head coach in 2023, but do you have an opinion regarding what this thread is about?
 
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Centerstream, of course it's opinion or speculation or whatever--isn't that a big part of sports conversation? Such as conversation about which UConn team was the best ever, or who is the best player in school history, or how long would the UConn 111-game winning streak have continued if they had hit their last shot in regulation against MS State. There's no true or false in those conversations, just opinions given that are either solid or outlandish. I feel like my opinions are fairly solid regarding a "what could have been" scenario, but would be interested to hear which ones you think are outlandish.
 
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Centerstream, of course it's opinion or speculation or whatever--isn't that a big part of sports conversation? Such as conversation about which UConn team was the best ever, or who is the best player in school history, or how long would the UConn 111-game winning streak have continued if they had hit their last shot in regulation against MS State. There's no true or false in those conversations, just opinions given that are either solid or outlandish. I feel like my opinions are fairly solid regarding a "what could have been" scenario, but would be interested to hear which ones you think are outlandish.
 
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Realist, what you apparently do not see is the lack of motivation and involvement NMP has exhibited during the games played to date. MSST fans liked Vic because he was 100% involved during the game both with the players and the fans, contrast that with NMP and you see a dramatic difference. NMP reminds me so much of Holly Warwick, the former UT coach, she had really good players but her during game coaching style was to hang her head and watch. The lack of fans has made coach involvement even more important this year, our team just does not appear excited or motivated to play, it is the coach that needs to ensure the team is motivated, NMP has FAILED the motivation test, much as Holly did, and I miss Vic‘s involvement.
 
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Jmsdawg, as mentioned to SimpleDawg, this is not a post about the pros and cons of NMP. But since you used the phrase "our team just does not appear excited or motivated to play, it is the coach that needs to ensure the team is motivated", you should spend some time on the Longhorn message board where you will see plenty of posts saying the same thing about the Texas players. Maybe they should fire Vic Schaefer based on your point of view--but me personally, I think he's going to do just fine at Texas after a shaky start this year where he is 0-4 against teams currently ranked in the top-25 despite the fact that Texas has 3 McDonald's All-Americans including a player considered by some to be the #1 pick in the upcoming WNBA draft.
 
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See this argument is not based on much is my issue. There's no evidence McCray is gonna have success apart from wishful thinking. Not even evidence to suggest we're going to stay above .500 in league play next year. If she can't stay above .500 with this roster, she's sure as not gonna do it next year.


Cooks, Mingo, and Carter are probably gone next year. Don't see how any of them could get any better here.

Jackson, Matharu, and Hayes are toss-ups. None have necessarily reached their ceilings and their jobs aren't in danger. If we can keep them, then it's definitely better odds.

Morris has already checked out. Not a big loss, ok I can accept that.

Wiggins and Taylor I think will stay.


Will all 9 of these players leave? Probably not. But if you truly get to a worst case scenario, you're essentially taking Taylor, Shavers, and Tai Yanna Jackson against the SEC next year...... and that's a 4-12 year.

It's gonna be hard to convince anyone that McCray is going to end up doing an excellent job while going below .500 in her first 2 years when she inherited a national juggernaut team that went to 2 out of the last 3 National Title games.
I really had high hopes for Morris this year. I thought she made a lot of progress last year and IMHO was the most physical player we had. Any thoughts on what happened with her this year. Again, in my opinion, physically is key in the SEC and we do not appear to be a physical ball club this year.
 
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Jmsdawg, I agree with you that Yemiyah Morris needed to be on the court more last year and this year instead of just averaging 9 minutes/game. In last year's SEC Tournament she got 26 minutes against Kentucky and responded with 11 points, 10 rebounds and 5 blocks. In the finals against SC her numbers were 21 minutes, 6 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 blocks. It feels like her limited playing time both years has been maybe a lack of mobility to play the one-to-one defense preferred by both coaches. As MSU proved last year in the comeback win against Vandy where the zone defense saved the day in the 4th quarter, sometimes switching to a zone is a good tactic and a good way to get more from some of the players on the roster.
 
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I frankly think Texas has underperformed this year. They are a Jeckle and Hyde team. Looking good one game and stinking it up for the next 5. It doesn't appear he has motivated them much. I was all in on Schaefer believing he would make Texas a contender and rival to Baylor. They appear to be worse than last year..

Now he might turn it around next season or when he gets his own recruits in the program. However, we never really know how well a coach will do when they change programs. Perhaps he is a coach who is successful with only a certain group of players.
 

LETTERL

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Realist, what you apparently do not see is the lack of motivation and involvement NMP has exhibited during the games played to date. MSST fans liked Vic because he was 100% involved during the game both with the players and the fans, contrast that with NMP and you see a dramatic difference. NMP reminds me so much of Holly Warwick, the former UT coach, she had really good players but her during game coaching style was to hang her head and watch. The lack of fans has made coach involvement even more important this year, our team just does not appear excited or motivated to play, it is the coach that needs to ensure the team is motivated, NMP has FAILED the motivation test, much as Holly did, and I miss Vic‘s involvement.
Coaching styles are different across the board. I have always believed that if a coach had their team well-prepared in practice, there's no need to continually bark orders and directions at players during a game. Perhaps NMP believes her team is capable of playing well-enough that she can sit and watch without continually stalking the sidelines.
 
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I really had high hopes for Morris this year. I thought she made a lot of progress last year and IMHO was the most physical player we had. Any thoughts on what happened with her this year. Again, in my opinion, physically is key in the SEC and we do not appear to be a physical ball club this year.

I frankly think Texas has underperformed this year. They are a Jeckle and Hyde team. Looking good one game and stinking it up for the next 5. It doesn't appear he has motivated them much. I was all in on Schaefer believing he would make Texas a contender and rival to Baylor. They appear to be worse than last year..

Now he might turn it around next season or when he gets his own recruits in the program. However, we never really know how well a coach will do when they change programs. Perhaps he is a coach who is successful with only a certain group of players.
I looked at the list of NCAA women's basketball coaches on Wikipedia, checking to see if the first year coaches were doing better or worse than their team's 2019-20 record. I only made it through the Big South Conference before giving up, but that was a dozen coaches and most seemed to be doing worse than the previous season (admittedly, this was a very unscientific process). It stands to reason that a first year coach in a normal year is at a disadvantage and that disadvantage has been magnified by the Covid-19 limitations. I believe that's the case with Vic at Texas, with NMP at MSU, her replacement at Old Dominion, and with numerous other coaches. But I've come to realize that my opinion seems to be held by a small minority.
 
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I really had high hopes for Morris this year. I thought she made a lot of progress last year and IMHO was the most physical player we had. Any thoughts on what happened with her this year. Again, in my opinion, physically is key in the SEC and we do not appear to be a physical ball club this year.
I blame coaching. Morris is good enough to be playing more than 9 minutes a game.
 
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One question would be, if Vic stayed, would Bibby and AEH have stayed as well?
Bibby and AEH were gone if Vic stayed or not. Bibby saw her time and minutes go down and she was going to lose her position to Cooks. AEH got lost in the shuffle with Taylor, Matharu and Mingo plus had Hayes coming in.

This team is nowhere as good as the sum of their parts and honestly it could have been this way even if Vic were the coach but I am skeptical there would have been a few of the losses as well as some of the lackluster performances. They seem to be in not the greatest physical condition overall and there is no post depth. Jackson should be, and still could be, a star. Whatever buy in McCray had early on after her hire is gone. The ship isn't totally sunk but I fear it will get worse before it gets better.
 
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If Vic Schaefer was still in Starkville then MS State would almost certainly be a top-10 team, could quite possibly be a top-5 team, and it's not a massive stretch to think they could currently be the #1 ranked team. Before you dismiss this as fantasy thinking by a fan, consider the following (which BTW has nothing to do with comparing the coaching abilities of Vic Schaefer with those of Nikki McCray Penson).

If Vic Schaefer had stayed on as head coach, MS State would be significantly better in at least 3 ways:
1) Returning players would be familiar with the offense and defense right from the start. Also, the coaches would have a much better understanding of each players strengths and weaknesses, how to best communicate with each player, etc.
2) Transfers Lauren Ebo and Kyra Lambert, plus freshman Deyona Gaston would all be in Starkville instead of Austin. This would add a veteran guard to the roster plus much needed help at the 4 position. It would also free up Sidney Cooks to help backup the 5 spot. (It's possible that Chloe Bibby would have also stayed, but I'm not factoring that into my argument.)
3) The coaching staff would be much more knowledgeable with regard to opposing SEC teams and players (such as Texas A&M and South Carolina).

I think it's fair to say that MS State would have far better continuity going into this season, a stronger roster, and would be better prepared for opposing teams if Vic Schaefer had stayed in Starkville. It's not a stretch to say that these improvements would have been enough to turn the overtime losses against Kentucky and South Florida into wins. IMO, the 86-78 loss to Alabama and the 86-80 loss to Arkansas become wins as well. Stop right there and MS State is 12-2 with 4 wins over top-25 teams and the only losses being to #5 Texas A&M and #2 South Carolina, certainly good enough for a top-10 ranking. Considering that Coach Schaefer almost beat Texas A&M with his Texas team this year, it's not crazy to think that MS State could have won that game and at 13-1 they would then be the team ranked #5. And while it would definitely be an upset, is it too hard to believe that Vic could have won in Starkville against South Carolina this year, putting the team at 14-0 and at the top of the ranking?

Naturally this is all speculation and the truth of the matter is that MS State is currently 8-6 and unranked. I don't see that as an indictment against Nikki McCray Penson. No new coach is going to have the continuity or the knowledge of the league like that of a returning coach. And there was no way she could keep Schaefer from diverting those 3 players from Starkville to Austin. She is playing with a totally different hand than what Vic would have held if he had stayed--the difference between what is and what could have been. (BTW, I was originally for Johnnie Harris to be promoted because of reasons #1 and #3 above. However, the drawback was her lack of head coaching experience PLUS she would have had to bring in a totally new staff since Vic was taking everyone else to Austin. When I looked at what NMP did at Old Dominion, I switched over to thinking she was the better choice and I continute to believe that she will end up proving to be an excellent choice.)
This was a disaster hire from the start, plain and simple. IMO, Nikki just didn't have enough experience to take over a top-5 program. Maybe she could've gotten a P5 job and built as her own, but what Vic built should've been handed to someone who has the chops and experience to keep that going in the same direction. Problem is, who wants to live in Starkville MS?
 
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This was a disaster hire from the start, plain and simple. IMO, Nikki just didn't have enough experience to take over a top-5 program. Maybe she could've gotten a P5 job and built as her own, but what Vic built should've been handed to someone who has the chops and experience to keep that going in the same direction. Problem is, who wants to live in Starkville MS?
Some of our fans thought we could have pulled Walz or another sitting head coach. I never saw that. Who was going to come into a situation with worse facilities and a harder place to recruit to? It's wishful thinking.

Our basketball facilities are serviceable but have been neglected for quite some time. There is also only so much a school with our budget can spend on a non-revenue sport. Especially with Covid budgets. We got lucky and hit on a goldmine with Vic, but I don't see that level of success ever being repeated.
 
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I frankly think Texas has underperformed this year. They are a Jeckle and Hyde team. Looking good one game and stinking it up for the next 5. It doesn't appear he has motivated them much. I was all in on Schaefer believing he would make Texas a contender and rival to Baylor. They appear to be worse than last year..

Now he might turn it around next season or when he gets his own recruits in the program. However, we never really know how well a coach will do when they change programs. Perhaps he is a coach who is successful with only a certain group of players.
One of the weird things about sports is that coaches can't always repeat their success at different schools.
 

bballnut90

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This was a disaster hire from the start, plain and simple. IMO, Nikki just didn't have enough experience to take over a top-5 program. Maybe she could've gotten a P5 job and built as her own, but what Vic built should've been handed to someone who has the chops and experience to keep that going in the same direction. Problem is, who wants to live in Starkville MS?
Johnny Harris is who they should've given the job to. Mississippi State has a ton of talent and all of the players wouldve likely bought into playing under her system. McCray can definitely turn things around but it is always difficult to take over a successful program with a roster of kids who all played for a successful coach previously.
 
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Johnny Harris is who they should've given the job to. Mississippi State has a ton of talent and all of the players wouldve likely bought into playing under her system. McCray can definitely turn things around but it is always difficult to take over a successful program with a roster of kids who all played for a successful coach previously.
Or it could have gone like Kentucky with Elzy......
 

bballnut90

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Or it could have gone like Kentucky with Elzy......
Kentucky was preseason #10/11 and is currently #17. Elzy has been far from great but Mississippi State was preseason #6 and might completely miss the NCAA tournament.
 

CL82

UConn Basketball: A Caldron of Intensity
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Centerstream, of course it's opinion or speculation or whatever--isn't that a big part of sports conversation? Such as conversation about which UConn team was the best ever, or who is the best player in school history, or how long would the UConn 111-game winning streak have continued if they had hit their last shot in regulation against MS State. There's no true or false in those conversations, just opinions given that are either solid or outlandish. I feel like my opinions are fairly solid regarding a "what could have been" scenario, but would be interested to hear which ones you think are outlandish.
Outlandish may be too much word. Pointless, pointless is kind of the right word. Vics not there anymore. We are in the middle of the basketball season. Why not focus on the team and coach that’s there, rather than fantasize about one that’s not.

Just my humble opinion though, by all means carry on.
 

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