The copy machines will be working overtime this week as all the NCAA brackets will be 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 tournament gets into full swing this week. The Final Four is set for Minneapolis on April 6th and 8th. Last year’s champion Villanova will be a sixth seed in this year’s tournament. The top four seeds for this year’s tournament are Duke, North Carolina, Virginia and Gonzaga. The Southeastern Conference has seven schools in the tournament as Auburn, Tennessee, Kentucky, LSU, Florida, Ole Miss (20-12) and Mississippi State (23-10) made the “Dance.” State travels as a No. 5 seed to San Jose this Friday night to face Liberty University. Ole Miss is a No. 8 seed and will face Oklahoma in Columbia, South Carolina, in the East Region, also on Friday. Alabama and Arkansas of the SEC were selected to play in the 32-team NIT Tournament that began earlier this week.
Auburn wins SEC crown
Auburn won the SEC basketball title this past weekend as they upset Tennessee in the championship game. MSU lost to Kentucky in their only game while Ole Miss fell to NIT bound Alabama in their only contest. Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis was named SEC Coach of the Year while MSU’s Quinndary Weatherspoon, the league’s leading scorer, was named first team All-SEC. Earlier last week Weatherspoon won the Howell Award for the second straight season as the top men's college basketball player in Mississippi. Ole Miss guard Breein Tyree was named to the SEC second team.
USM went 1-1 in the C-USA tourney losing to the Rick Stansbury coached Western Kentucky Hilltoppers in the semifinals while the Lady Eagles lost their tournament opener.
The Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs still have a game plan of playing in their third straight national championship game in Tampa on April 7. The Lady Bulldogs have All-American senior center Teaira McCowan to lead them. McCowan won the Gillom Award as the top women’s player in college basketball in Mississippi last week. It is the fifth straight year that a MSU player has won the award. Victoria Vivians had won the previous four years. The Lady Bulldogs will be playing Friday night in their opening NCAA Tournament game.
The Delta State men’s team lost to Florida Southern in Fort Lauderdale last Friday night in NCAA Division II South Region play. The Statesmen finish the season at 19-12.
The USM Golden Eagles swept Louisiana Tech in Ruston this weekend in their conference opener. The Eagles are 11-7 overall as they host Old Dominion this weekend. Ole Miss (14-6) took Friday and Sunday home games to win their series over Alabama. MSU (18-2) also won two games on the road against nationally ranked Florida to begin their SEC season.
William Carey University is planning a special weekend to honor the 1969 National championship baseball team. The Crusaders (29-9) under their legendary coach John O’Keefe won the national title in St. Joseph, Missouri, over a team from Laverne, California. Players like Junior Broome, Jim Smith, Forrest Stevenson, Bobby Eades, Jim Arnold and Billy Kouns are still etched in Crusader baseball history.
Johnny Football Update
Johnny Manziel signed with the Memphis Express of the Alliance of America Football League. Manziel was a first round draft selection of the Cleveland Browns back in 2014. He was recently released by Montreal of the Canadian Football League. Mike Singletary is the head coach of the Express (1-5).
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