Sideline View with Dale McKee
MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) -
The copy machines will be working overtime this week as all the NCAA brackets are thoughtfully filled out. March Madness is a fitting title for the annual college basketball tournament. The first week is always filled with emotions from “the thrill of victory to the agony of defeat.” The Final Four is set for Houston on April 1 and 3. The top four seeds for this year’s tournament are Alabama, Houston, Purdue and last year’s champion Kansas. Mississippi State (18-13) made the tournament and will head to Dayton, Ohio, on Tuesday to play Pittsburgh in one of the First Four games. The winner will advance to play sixth seed Iowa State. There are two First Four games on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, with the four winners joining the other 60 tournament teams.
The Southeastern Conference has seven schools in the tournament as Auburn, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Texas A&M and Arkansas join Alabama. The Crimson Tide also won the SEC crown as they defeated Texas A&M. Mississippi State beat Florida before losing to Alabama in the second round of the SEC tournament. Ole Miss (12-21) downed South Carolina before falling to Tennessee in second round play.
The Ole Miss Lady Rebels (23-8), who landed an eight seed in the tournament, will host Gonzaga on Friday in first round play while 11th seeded MSU will travel to Illinois on Wednesday.
Southern Mississippi landed an automatic bid to the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) and will travel to UAB on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. Alcorn, also an automatic qualifier for winning the SWAC regular season, travels to North Texas on Wednesday night at 7 p.m.
Jackson State and Alcorn were both eliminated in the SWAC basketball tournament to end their seasons. The JSU Lady Tigers were ousted in second round SWAC Tournament play by champion Southern University.
The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum announced the winners of the Howell and Gillom Trophies. The awards, sponsored by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and the Pearl River Resort, are given annually to the Most Outstanding College Basketball Players in Mississippi. Angel Baker of Ole Miss won the Gillom Trophy while Domonique Davis of Southern Miss and Jessika Carter of Mississippi State were the other finalists. Tolu Smith of MSU won the Howell Trophy while Matthew Murrell of Ole Miss and Austin Crowley of USM were the other finalists.
Ole Miss and Mississippi State baseball both had a perfect week with four wins. Ole Miss (14-2) downed USM in a mid-week game and then swept Purdue. The Rebels travel to Vanderbilt for the opening weekend of SEC play. Mississippi State (11-5) won over Valparaiso and swept Lipscomb last week. The Bulldogs will travel to MGM Park in Biloxi to take on Nichols State and Louisiana before heading to Kentucky to open their SEC season. Southern Mississippi, who won two of three games against Valparaiso over the weekend, will travel to Texas State this weekend to open Sun Belt Conference play.
The Ole Miss Rebel Road Trip kicks off in Meridian on March 27 before heading to Cleveland, Houston, Texas and Nashville in April. The final April stop will be in Oxford on Double Decker Day on April 29. The Road Trip will restart in June as Lane Kiffin and crew will be in Tupelo, Biloxi, Jackson and Memphis.
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