Some weeks you see a lot

Sports can be a funny deal. When you move through them as often as we're around them, you see all sorts of ups and downs, big wins and tough losses, great efforts and sometimes even not so inspiring performances.

The last few days have been filled with of some of all the above.

In men's basketball last week, the Rebels proved they wanted to play more games when they beat UC Santa Barbara 83-68 with a solid second half. Now that they've moved on to round two Monday night, hosting Nebraska, they say they already have New York on their minds. Two more wins would get them there.

Andy Kennedy had some work to do to get his players up for the Gauchos after falling short of their NCAA Tournament goal. He admitted it's tough to gauge how a team will respond in round one of the three-letter tourney. But he and his staff had the Rebels ready to win again and now the Cornhuskers present the next challenge, one the Rebels say they will be up for as well.

Out at spring football, there's an excitement level and a crispness and energy not seen here in quite a while. There's work to be done and they're getting a lot done already, with all signs of progress pointing directly at Houston Nutt and his staff and the positiveness they bring.

Nutt's a team player, too. When he was asked after practice Saturday if the Rebs would practice Monday, he said no. There's a basketball game, he said. It's already apparent how much the Rebels' new head football coach is into basketball.

Billy Chadwick and his tennis team had a long, heart to heart talk after the Rebels lost to Florida with what looked to be a fairly uninspiring effort in Oxford Friday. After winning the doubles point, the Rebels won just one match in singles.

They turned things back around Sunday with a terrific 4-0 romp of South Carolina in Columbia to remain in the thick of the SEC race.

Ole Miss is now 13-4 overall and 4-2 in SEC action. With two league setbacks so far, there's work to be done to win it all. But they'll likely be there at the end again, right in the thick of things when it counts.

I've gotta believe the same thing about the baseball team. It appears that earlier No. 2 national ranking was a bit premature. But I don't believe the Rebels are as bad as today's game, a lopsided setback to Florida to drop two of three games to the visiting Gators.

Maybe what one fan close to the program told me after Sunday's lackluster performance is perhaps an answer. Maybe the team needs to forget about baseball until loading the bus Tuesday for Pearl and an important non-conference game against USM.

Then again, maybe they need to work harder than ever. There's another answer, and Mike Bianco and company will figure it out. They normally do.

But Sundays this season haven't been too kind to the Diamond Rebels. After an easy win over Minnesota on that first Sunday, it took a late extra-inning rally against Indiana State to lift Ole Miss to an 8-5 win.

But the past three Sundays the Rebels got nothing going offensively, losing at TCU 2-1, Mississippi State 4-0, and now Florida 10-2.

An improving softball program found the going rough this weekend. MSU came in and left with a sweep. Coach Missy Dickerson and staff will now try to regroup, figure out what went wrong, and get things back on track.

Speaking of track, Coach Joe Walker's program continues to impress. The Ole Miss track and field team posted five NCAA provisional qualifying marks and earned individual titles in 10 different events as the Rebels opened the outdoor season at the Rhodes Invitational in Memphis.

This came on the heels of the recent NCAA Indoor Championships where Walker had a national champion in Brittany Reese, long jumper, the first female national champion in Ole Miss history.

Ole Miss track is set to host two meets this spring, on Sat., April 12, the day of the Grove Bowl football game, and on Sat., May 3.

Coaches spend a lot of time figuring out how best to field a winner. Some days are easier than others. Some teams and players respond better than others.

Kennedy's troops are up next as they hope to move on in the NIT.

Bianco and staff will continue to try to figure out why no aspect of the Rebels' team, except maybe for pitching, has been as good as most thought it would be.

One thing they'll do is remember the Rebels were 13-11 overall and 1-5 in SEC play at this same time two years ago. The Rebs went on to win their own NCAA Regional and hosted Miami in the Super Regional when the Hurricanes won the Nebraska Regional.

Some of it's bound to be between the ears. This year's baseball team is too talented not to be there at the end again.

I fully expect baseball to be there for the stretch run. But the coaches still have to figure a few things out lineup wise and pitching wise (just like always, especially the first half of the season), get them playing better defense, which has always been a Bianco trademark, find some motivation and focus for Sunday games, and basically come to play every game, both midweek and weekend.

It's called doing what coaches do, and rest assured they're trying to figure it all out as we speak. All of them, across the board.

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