Sideline View with Dale McKee
MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) -
The incredible turnaround of the fortunes of the Southern Mississippi basketball program continued this past week as the Golden Eagles defeated both South Alabama and James Madison. The wins pulled USM into a three-way tie for first place in the Sun Belt Conference with Marshall and Louisiana. The Golden Eagles won only one conference game last year and only had seven wins for the entire season. Jay Ladner’s Eagles (17-4, 6-2) will host Arkansas State on Thursday and Texas State this Saturday. Mississippi State (12-7, 1-6) lost a couple of close games this past week to Auburn and Florida as they are deadlocked with Ole Miss and LSU in the cellar of the SEC. The Bulldogs will play at Alabama in a midweek game before hosting TCU on Saturday afternoon. Ole Miss (9-10, 1-6) traveled to South Carolina and came out with their first SEC win of the year this past week but then fell at Arkansas. The Rebels will host Missouri this week before taking on Oklahoma State in the Big 12 Challenge on Saturday night.
The Southern Mississippi Lady Golden Eagles (13-6, 6-2) are in second place in the Sun Belt Conference standings. The Lady Golden Eagles will travel to both Arkansas State and Texas State this week. Mississippi State (15-5, 4-3) won a 77-76 game and Ole Miss lost a 77-76 game on Sunday. State downed Kentucky for their third straight win while Ole Miss (16-4, 5-2) lost for the second straight game. The Rebels will head home to host MSU on Thursday night at 8 p.m.
The Mississippi Association of Coaches will enshrine six high school coaches into their Coaches Hall of Fame this June in Jackson. One female, two football coaches along with coaches from the sports of baseball, basketball, softball and track and field will be honored. The lone female inductee is track and cross-country coach Karen Green who brought home ten state titles in her 28-year coaching career. The two high school football coaches are long-time Purvis head football coach Jack Craft (deceased) who had a 35-year coaching career before retiring in 1989. Newly hired Meridian High School head football coach Marcus Boyles is the second football coach to be inducted this summer. Boyles won five state championships: two at Taylorsville and three at Wayne County. William “Moose” Perry coached baseball at several high schools beginning at Forest Hills and also coached at Mississippi College. Six-time state champion George Willis (deceased) of Simmons High School is the lone basketball inductee. Four-time state softball champion coach Jimmy Parker of Harrison Central rounds out this year’s class.
The college baseball season begins next Thursday, February 2, when William Carey welcomes Cumberland University. The following day, Mississippi College hosts Arkansas-Monticello followed on Feb. 4 when Delta State entertains Harding. Tougaloo travels to New Orleans to play Xavier on February 5, and on February 7 Belhaven plays Rhodes College at Trustmark Park in Pearl. Finally, Millsaps hosts LeTourneau on February 10 in their opener. The Mississippi JUCOs open on the week of February 6 except for defending NJCAA champion Pearl River who begins on February 4 with a doubleheader against Wharton County Junior College at Southeastern Louisiana University.
The NCAA official start-up date is Friday, February 17, when all of our Division 1 schools will be in action. On that day, Alcorn hosts Alabama A&M while Jackson State and Mississippi Valley travel to Houston for the HBCU Classis at Minute Maid Park. Jackson State plays Southern University while Valley tangles with Prairie View A&M. The defending National Champion Ole Miss Rebels opens in Oxford by hosting Delaware while Southern Mississippi welcomes Liberty and Mississippi State entertains Virginia Military Institute on that February 17 weekend.
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