Commentary -

Rebel athletics had, well, an interesting weekend, with ups and downs and ins and outs. Sometimes, it's just the way things go.

There are always two sides of a fence, heads or tails of a coin, give and take of a situation.

That was never more clear than in Rebel athletics over the weekend.

But first the "good" news.

Kudos to Britney Reese for winning a national championship in track in the women's long jump.

Wait a second. That's too casual, too nonchalant.

Ole Miss' Britney Reese won a NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP - she is the very best, not one of the best, in women's collegiate athletics in the long jump.

Can you imagine what it is like to be the best in the whole collegiate landscape at anything? Let's not discount this accomplishment just because "it's only women's track." Super job by a performer quickly becoming "Superwoman."



Also, a big tip of the hat to Men's Golf Coach Ernest Ross and his crew. All they did was cruise over to Georgia over the weekend and win a golf tournament over an extremely strong field, including hometown favorite Georgia, ranked No. 2 in the nation, and Clemson, ranked in the Top 10.

That's some pretty high cotton for the Rebel golf team, a program already ranked in the Top 25 and bound to climb higher very quickly.

No doubt, this was the biggest win for Coach Ross since he came ack to Ole Miss a few years ago and, obviously, the program is growing stronger and stronger.

With two of the Top 50 juniors in the country coming on board next fall, we may be looking at a Top 10 program in the near future.



Now, on to the two-siders.

We'll start with baseball.

Coach Mike Bianco and the Rebels went to Starkville over the weekend and took two-of-three from archrival Mississippi State.

That is the "normal," satisfactory, even excellent, goal of any SEC road baseball series. You just can't be unhappy when you come to that result.

But I have to admit, there is a bit of an annoyance about not sweeping the Bullies. An irritant, like a popcorn hull stuck in your throat. You try and try to hack it up and it just won't dislodge until you take some type of instrument to pry it loose and that ends up gagging you.

Why do I feel that way? I suppose it's because we won the first two games of the series convincingly and it appeared we were going to maul their Sunday pitcher, who entered the game with a 10-plus ERA.

Instead, the Rebels were almost no-hit and lost 4-0. From my viewpoint, we looked lethargic and satisfied with two wins over the weekend. From the viewpoint of the Rebel coaches and players, the MSU hurler was just too good on that particular day.

I can accept that and yield to their analysis. Pitching is 75-80% of the college game. You get a guy who's on and it's tough to get anything going, and their guy was on, without a doubt.

But you just couldn't help but feel it was a missed opportunity by the Rebels to really send a message to a lot of people that they mean business in the SEC.

Don't get me wrong. I will never scoff at 2-of-3 on the road. That is a successful weekend, a very successful weekend. But after manhandling State's "best" pitchers for two days, I was looking for "outstanding" and the sweep.

Regardless, the Rebs are atop the SEC West after one weekend of conference play and that's a good, solid start. I just can't help but think "what if?". . . . .

Another "if" situation also popped up over the weekend.

In men's basketball, the Rebels - with 21 wins - were left at the altar again with the NCAA Tournament selection committee.

Obviously, one stinking win shy of entrance into the Big Dance.

Georgia, it is my guess, with its scintillating run through the SEC Tournament, most likely took our slot. Who really knows?

Anyway, let me get my sour grapes out of the way. I thought the Rebels, with their 21 wins, RPI and record against Top 50 and NCAA Tourney teams, should have gotten an invitation anyway.

We all know my judgment on "all things Rebel" is impaired and slanted, but I thought we finished strong enough to get a slot.

On the flip side, I suppose we can also look in the mirror for our exclusion. Two regular season losses to Auburn, a home loss to South Carolina and not being able to scratch in the SEC Tourney - even though we lost in overtime to the eventual champion - are reasons for being left out.

It just chaps me when some of these lesser teams like MVSU, who we can beat as badly as we want to any time, and Coppin State get in and we are sitting at home with another NIT bid.

An argument can be made either way. One, that we didn't do what we had to do to get in. Two, we did enough but simply did not get rewarded for it.

Being a Rebel, I'll take the latter, but knowing full well there are two sides to every equation.

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