JOHN L. PITTS: SEC’s effort may benefit Tupelo

By John L. Pitts/NEMS Daily Journal

It’s possible that the SEC’s latest effort to bulk up its men’s basketball programs could be a good thing for Tupelo.
At last week’s league meetings in Destin, Fla., commissioner Mike Slive talked up his latest effort to beef up league schedules.
That’s been a topic of discussion on his part for several years, to negligible effect.
Now Mr. Slive wants his member schools to submit their non-conference schedules for approval.
Playing better opponents is only part of the solution. More neutral-site games would help, too.
And that’s a chance for more good basketball games at BancorpSouth Arena, after the fashion of the Memphis-LSU game played there in 2010.
My reading of the rules suggests that Oxford may be too close for Tupelo to be a true neutral site for Ole Miss, yet might be if a Rebels’ game wasn’t a part of the “home” ticket package. For its part, Mississippi State will play there in December.
Lots of Crimson Tide fans in this part of the state – how about an Alabama-Southern Miss game? Maybe Tennessee against Arkansas State or Central Arkansas?
BCS Arena operators are standing by.
Wait, there’s more
Some quick thoughts:
• Georgia has hired Scott Stricklin to be its new baseball coach. Not the Scott Stricklin who’s the Mississippi State athletic director, but the Scott Stricklin who was baseball coach at Kent State.
Imagine the scene next year in Destin: “Scott Stricklin, meet Scott Stricklin.” “Scott Stricklin, Scott Stricklin.” “Hi, I’m Scott. Nice to meet you, Scott.”
That news, announced Monday, makes me wonder about a tweet I got from MSU’s Stricklin last week. I’d asked, just for fun, if he’d ever gotten any mail or calls intended for the other Scott Stricklin.
His reply? Not “No,” but “Not yet.” Ah-hah!
• Oklahoma State has a pitcher named Tyler Nurdin. “First rule of baseball club, do not talk about baseball club.”
• The Pac-12 Conference moved this week to limit contact in football practice to avoid injuries. This follows the Big 12’s limits on hitting while playing defense in actual games.
John L. Pitts (john.pitts@journalinc.com) is sports editor of the Journal.