Monday Morning Update

Spanning the globe on a Monday morning …

Junior right-hander Sam Smith says the Rebels getting the SEC sweep with an 8-3 win over Missouri looked something like this:

Smith played a big part in it. After giving up a leadoff double that Missouri turned into a run with some effective small ball, he settled down and matched Mizzou starter Brett Graves into the middle innings.

The college baseball rankings come out later today. The Rebels take on Southern Miss at Trustmark Park in Pearl Tuesday night. …

It’s been a great start to March Madness, particularly if you were a visiting team that won at Tad Smith Coliseum in the non-conference season. Oregon won a game than almost eliminated Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Mercer upset Duke and Dayton has grabbed headlines with its run to the Sweet 16.

But Tennessee is a developing story and has become the “other” Cinderella to run alongside Dayton.

It wasn’t that long ago that Vols coach Cuonzo Martin faced the job question, much like Andy Kennedy did last year before leading the Rebels to an SEC tournament title and NCAA win. The Vols had their ups and downs this year as Texas A&M beat writer Brent Zwerneman pointed out Sunday night:

Tennessee’s run and Kentucky’s upset of No. 1 seed Wichita State has the SEC at 7-0 in the NCAAs.

The conference was less successful over the weekend in the NIT where Southern Miss won at Missouri on Sunday and former Ole Miss player and assistant Michael White coached Louisiana Tech past Georgia in Athens. White and Tech are one win from the NIT semifinals in New York. …

On the spring football front, the Rebels are back on the practice field today with a new twist.

It appears the ban on freshmen speaking will be lifted today. No freshmen from the celebrated 2013 signing class were allowed to speak in interviews last year, a policy that continued into the beginning of spring.

It was a rule put in place to protect the new guys and help acclimate them to college football. I have mixed feelings about the policy. I don’t disagree with helping players adjust to new surroundings, but I’m not sure the blanket needed to cover the whole class. Some guys might be more prone to pop off and say the wrong things in interviews than others. As coaches, you know who those guys are. Some guys are more mature and can handle things better. All of the high-profile signees dealt with media at some level during their recruiting.

At any rate, the absence of freshmen from the interview pool has kind of made their availability an event.

On the field, this blog post from ESPN’s Edward Aschoff names one of those rising sophomores, Derrick Jones, as one of the SEC’s breakout players for spring football. ….

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

Posted in Baseball, Basketball, Football

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