But they didn't. John Calapari opted out of coming to Tad Smith Coliseum. Georgetown took the Rebels' spot, came to Memphis ranked fifth, and lost. Memphis is ranked second but is playing most of its toughies at home – like the Hoyas earlier, Arizona last week, and Tennessee later this season – before getting into the easier Conference USA slate. The Tigers have also played Oklahoma, Connecticut, and Southern Cal at Madison Square Garden this season.
If Memphis, tops in the RPI today, was looking for yet another decent RPI game, as it's turned out, they should have come on to Oxford. The Rebels are currently 18 in the RPI as well as the polls. But one of the teams would have lost, and now there'd just be five. Maybe Calapari didn't want to take the risk.
Everywhere you turn now Ole Miss is being mentioned. That's what being ranked among the top 20 teams and being undefeated in early January will do for a program. Andy Kennedy's team has been perhaps the surprise team nationally so far, but it hasn't surprised him or his staff and players. They expected to be 13-0 heading to eighth-ranked Tennessee next week.
That the Rebels have a week from the Alabama A&M game to the Tennessee game is a portion of the schedule we'll see two more times this season. Ole Miss will have a week between road games at Auburn (Jan. 19) and Mississippi State (Jan. 26), and again between a home contest vs. South Carolina (Feb. 2) and a road game at Arkansas (Feb. 9).
They may need that last break more than the others. Starting with the game at Fayetteville, the Rebels play three games in five days. In addition to the Hogs, Ole Miss plays Presbyterian College (Feb. 11) in Oxford and travels to Alabama (Feb. 13).
Season ticket sales continue for men's basketball. Counting student tickets and the SEC packages sold for conference games only, the total is around 5,700 currently. That number will grow in the next few days, and it should grow substantially next season.
Fans can still buy SEC packages for the eight home games. It's only $120 and you can't beat that price to watch a ranked Rebel team aiming for the NCAA Tournament.
With some 3,000 seats not accounted for through season tickets, that means there are too many seats still available for visiting fans. If you plan to make only a few of the SEC games, you'd better get on those tickets in a hurry. There are only about a thousand still remaining for LSU a week from Saturday. There are still about 1,700 left for the MSU game on Feb. 20.
I predict eight sellouts for the SEC games. So don't be left out in the cold.
Speaking of cold, it won't be long until baseball practice begins. But it starts later this season than in the past because the season itself starts later. Ole Miss opens at home the weekend of Feb. 22-24 when Minnesota arrives for the "warmth?" of northern Mississippi.
With a preseason ranking of fourth nationally by Collegiate Baseball and a baseball stadium expansion that's well underway, it'll be another preseason that fans will be excited to follow closely.
Currently, the work at the stadium continues. The ticket office, entrance gates, and fence out front have all been removed. The third base hill has been shaved, and the bullpens are being relocated behind the outfield wall.
A concrete wall is being constructed from the current stadium at third base all the way to the foul pole, which will serve as the front support for the new box seats. A similar wall will soon be built down first base.
Swayze Field has a large amount of foul territory down the lines. These walls are angled in toward the outfield wall, permanently reducing by a substantial amount the foul territory down the lines.
As the season gets closer, we'll update on the baseball stadium's progress and what fans should expect when they arrive at the ole ballpark in late February.
With an exciting SEC season beginning for men's basketball and the postseason surely to follow, another baseball season with much promise of going deep into June, and a spring football practice session and Grove Bowl under a new staff, it's been a while since things have been so up at Ole Miss.
Of course this is as it should be all the time. Agree?
Basketball, baseball, etc.
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