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Monday Morning Coffee Break

<img src="http://www.genespage.com/images/01columnists/gswindoll.jpg" align="left" width="120" height="161"> [Premium Article] MSU Baseball and the Nike Camp.


17th ranked Mississippi State (38-16-1), for the 17th straight time and 24th time in 27 tournaments, will be appearing in the SEC Tournament this week. First up for the Bulldogs is in-state rival Ole Miss (33-23), a team MSU is 3-1 against this season.

MSU and Ole Miss faced each other in Oxford in a three-game series that MSU swept by scores of 2-0, 7-0 and 8-4. The Rebels defeated MSU 5-1 in the Mayor's Trophy Game.

Coach Polk has selected sophomore right-hander Alan Johnson (5-3, 4.08) to start while Ole Miss will likely start freshman lefty Stephen Head (3-1, 1.06).

Johnson won the 7-0 shutout by two-hitting the Rebels. Since that shutout, Johnson has a 1-3 record with an ERA of 6.97. The one victory was a complete-game shutout of number 1 seed LSU.

Starting just his third game this season, Head has been Ole Miss' closer throughout the year, earning 13 saves in 16 relief appearances. Teams are batting .187 against him. In his 2 starts, both which he won, he threw 16 innings, allowing 1 run on 10 hits and 2 walks while striking out 10. Both starts, which were played in Oxford, were against SEC competitors Alabama and South Carolina.

Against MSU, he has thrown 1/3 of an inning, allowing no runs, hits, walks or strikeouts.

Stats comparisons:

Hitting: MSU .305 - Ole Miss .283
Runs Per Game: MSU 6.7 - Ole Miss 5.4
MSU Against LHP: .332 (2nd in SEC)
Ole Miss Against RHP: .273 (11th in SEC)
Pitching: MSU 3.37 - Ole Miss 3.47
Fielding: MSU .977 - Ole Miss .962
Last 10 Games: MSU 6-4 - Ole Miss 5-5
Record Against Bracket Teams: MSU 8-1 - Ole Miss 2-7

The winner of the MSU-Ole Miss game advances to an 8 p.m. winner's bracket matchup against either top-seeded LSU or No. 8 seed Arkansas. The team that fall in opening round competition will meet in a 1 p.m. elimination round game.

Both games can be seen on CSS (Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast).

MSU in line to host an NCAA Tournament site?...

Much has been speculated about MSU chances of hosting an NCAA Tournament site. What do I think?

I really like MSU's chances for quite a few reasons. I took all the emotions out of it and only included facts.

  • Polls: MSU's average ranking among the four polls is 18th.
  • SEC Hosts Previous Years: In 3 of the 4 years since the new sub-regional format, SEC teams have hosted 4 sub-regionals. In the other year, 3 SEC teams hosted.
  • RPI: MSU has an RPI of 16, the same RPI it had when it hosted a site in 2000.
  • Bid: MSU host bid was in the $150,000 to $175,000 range.
  • Attendance: MSU's baseball stadium's seating capacity is over 14,000.
  • An aside....

    There has been talk on my message board about Southern Miss receiving an NCAA host site instead of MSU. What do I think? Possible but not likely. Why, you ask? I'll use the same criteria that I used above as a comparison.

  • MSU vs. USM: The teams are 1-1 vs. each other this season.
  • Polls: MSU's average ranking among the four polls is 18th. USM's is 20th.
  • Hosts Previous Years: In the 4 years since the new sub-regional format began, SEC teams have hosted 15 sub-regionals while C-USA teams have hosted 3.
  • SEC vs. C-USA: SEC is 19-10 vs. C-USA this season. USM is 2-2 vs. the SEC.
  • #RPI: MSU has an RPI of 16. USM has an RPI of 23.
  • #SEC and C-USA DI Records: SEC is 391-258 (2nd among all conferences) vs. DI teams. C-USA is 340-300 (7th) vs DI teams.
  • Bid: MSU host bid was in the $150,000 to $175,000 range, while USM bid was in the $50,000 to $75,000 range.
  • Attendance: MSU's baseball stadium's seating capacity is over 14,000. USM has an official capacity of 3,678, but can hold 4,315. As an aside, the top 15 crowds at USM's Pete Taylor Park are games between MSU and USM. MSU's average attendance is 6,091 while USM's is 1,985.
  • # - Source Boyd's World.

    Just about every factor favors MSU over USM.

    By the way, do I think this means Southern Miss won't receive a bid? No. In fact, I consider this year the best chance Southern Miss has ever had of receiving a bid. There is some history on their side. During three of the past four years, at least one C-USA team has hosted a sub-regional, so a precedence has been set.


    I attended my second southeast Nike football camp this past Sunday at Auburn University. Last year, the camp, which is bid on by colleges, was held at the University of Alabama.

    Although the second half of the camp was rained out, the 400+ players who attended were able to have their height and weights measured as well as go through the tests.

    Tests included bench pressing 185 pounds as many times as possible, vertical jump, 40 yard dash and 20 yard shuttle run. The test results will be put online as soon as they become available.

    A record number of Mississippi high school players attended this year's southeast Nike Camp. I had over 140 players invited and between 50 and 60 attended, most of whom I met while working one of the weight stations.

    Although he didn't participate in the camp, I did get to meet Cortez McCraney, a 6-foot-4, 219-pound OLB/DE from Southaven High School. Cortez told me that he has an offer from Mississippi State and has received spring evaluation recruiting calls from Auburn, Ole Miss and Georgia as well as Mississippi State. This spring was his first year to play football. According to his coach, MSU DL coach John Blake was so impressed, he later offered Cortez a scholarship. Auburn appears to be very interested in Cortez as well. Cortez told me his favorite colleges are Auburn, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Georgia, Marshall and Middle Tennessee State. He also told me that Coach Blake likes him because he is such a hard hitter.

    It was like a who's who among Mississippi high school players. Although there were other Mississippi players in attendance, these were the ones that I either saw or was told were there.

  • Andre Garth, WR, Amory HS.
  • Marcus McIntosh, DE, Amory HS.
  • Blake Barnes, QB, Baldwyn HS.
  • Maurice Thornton, OLB/TE, Bruce HS.
  • Ken Cox, RB, Cleveland HS.
  • Michael Eubanks, DE, Cleveland HS.
  • Gary Duckworth, LM, Collins HS.
  • Zach Robbins, C, Columbia Academy.
  • Joey Bragg, OL, Columbus HS.
  • Charlie Nunnery, RB, Copiah Academy.
  • William Davis, OL, Corinth HS.
  • Jonathan Celestine, DL, Corinth HS.
  • Nathan Barkley, OL, Falkner HS.
  • Devireo Anderson, WR, Harrison Central HS.
  • Tony Banks, WR, Harrison Central HS.
  • Ryan Sefton, OL, Harrison Central HS.
  • Dudley Swoope, TE, Heritage Academy.
  • Connor Wise, QB, Heritage Academy.
  • Bobby Wilson, WR, Horn Lake HS.
  • Josh Crockett, OL, Independence HS.
  • David Traxler, OL, Jackson Academy.
  • Tim Ellis, LB, Long Beach HS.
  • Xavier Mitchell, DE, Long Beach HS.
  • Greg Hathorn, DE, Louisville HS.
  • Courtney Coleman, DL, Louisville HS.
  • Glover Quinn, RB/SS, North Pike HS.
  • Mark Butler, DE, North Pike HS.
  • Reggie Smith, RB, Noxubee County HS.
  • Matt Mandich, OL, Oak Grove HS.
  • Desmoine Ware, OL, Okolona HS.
  • Anthony Mitchell, WR, Oxford HS.
  • Ken Smith, RB, Oxford HS.
  • Lance Lee, OL, Oxford HS.
  • Jacob Turner, DL, Seminary HS.
  • Marcellus Speaks, LB, Jackson-Provine HS.
  • Demond Morrow, QB, R.H. Watkins HS.
  • Greg Hines, DB, Southaven HS.
  • Stephen Denning, DE, Southaven HS.
  • Michael Denning, DE, Southaven HS.
  • Nathan Waltman, OL, Southaven HS.
  • Josh Winchell, OL, Southaven HS.
  • Aleric Coleman, LB, Southaven HS (Junior).
  • T.J. Windham, QB, St. Martin HS.
  • Heath Grant, LB, Starkville HS.
  • Antonio McCoy, WR, Starkville HS.
  • Jamile Owens, FB, Starkville HS.
  • Louis Conley, QB/RB, Tupelo HS.
  • Rory Johnson, LB, Vicksburg HS.
  • Michael Rainey, RB, Vicksburg HS.
  • Maurice Taylor, RB/WR, Vicksburg HS.
  • Casey Younger, DL, Vicksburg HS.
  • Have a great Bulldog week!

    Gene Swindoll

    Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. The URL for Gene's Page is http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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