Catching Up

Catching up with Ole Miss sports a bit this last weekend of April.

Season ticket deadline for Ole Miss football priority seating is Wednesday. Don't let that pass you by, although I'm sure most on here renewed on day one.

There has been that much excitement since the last week of November when Houston Nutt crossed the Mississippi River.

Pete Boone told me earlier that season ticket sales from Eli's last season (2003) through last year (2007) were down some 9,000. It will be interesting to see if that can be made up in one year and get the season ticket sales back over 40,000 – not counting the 7,500 or so student tickets.

I believe it can happen.

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Andy Kennedy's program continues to build and rebuild. It's been challenging for them to piece it all together for a couple of years, and that continues into year three.

But it's obvious to see that the efforts to bring an even bigger winner to Ole Miss basketball are a daily work in progress. Refreshing, too.

With 21 and 24 wins the past two seasons, nobody at that office is resting on any laurels and coming across as well that's two of the winningest Ole Miss men's hoops seasons ever, so there.

Nope. Not happening. They haven't even made the Big Dance yet, but it's coming.

More from hoops soon when I get a sit-down with AK about the past, the present, and the future – from how preliminarily the team shapes up for next season to which opponents the Rebels have scheduled to play.

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Billy Chadwick's program keeps rolling along. Their annual national consistency is amazing.

Of course No. 1 at season's end is still the elusive goal. Second place in 1995 was the program's top mark so far. That year Stanford claimed a win over Ole Miss in the NCAA finals in Athens, Ga.

Right now the Rebs are at No. 4 and have shown they can compete with those above them.

There always seems to be that one "great" team each year that the Rebels have trouble getting through. A lot of times it's been Georgia or a Pac-10 team. This year that team could be Virginia. The Cavaliers are No. 1 and haven't lost.

Ole Miss lost 4-2 to Virginia in February at the prestigious National Team Indoor in Seattle. But five of the matches went three sets, and the Rebels are confident they can win the next time around.

Of course there's a lot of work to be done before then. Ole Miss and Virginia would likely not meet again until the Final Four. Ohio State at No. 2, which defeated Ole Miss in February, and UCLA at No. 3 round out the top four teams currently.

As the tennis Rebs get ready for May, they invite you to join them for the NCAA Selection Show on Tuesday at The Library just off The Square.

The 64-team bracket and 16 regional host sites will be announced between 1:00 and 1:30 p.m. on ESPNews. The Library will offer free soft drinks and hors d'oeuvres from 12:15 p.m. until the show is over.

The Rebels won the SEC Tournament last weekend for the first time since 1997, as well as claiming their seventh consecutive SEC Western Division title during the season. A record five Rebels were named to the All-SEC team.

The NCAA first and second rounds will take place May 10-11 at various sites across the country, and one of those sites will likely be Oxford again. We'll know that Tuesday as well.

The NCAA National Championships, with the final 16 teams in the field, are to be held in Tulsa, Okla., May 17-20.

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Men's golf has also turned its attention to the NCAA Tournament. Already assured of a spot in the field for the second straight year, the Rebels will find out on May 5 which NCAA Regional they will participate in.

There are three possible sites – Chattanooga, Tenn.; Columbus, Ohio; and Bremerton, Wash, May 15-17.

The Rebels are ranked tied for 27th this week in the Golf World/Nike poll.

Ernest Ross continues to grow this program back to what it was his first time around. With the players returning and the newcomers arriving, NCAA tourney appearances and rankings are becoming the norm again.

But what's immediately ahead of them this year is finishing high enough in the Regional to advance to the National Championship Tournament at Purdue May 28-31.

If they play well, they can get there this time. And they are capable of doing just that.

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Brittney Reese continues to have one of the outstanding track careers in Ole Miss history.

After a terrific showing at LSU last weekend, Reese was named SEC Female Field Athlete of the Week for the third time this season.

Reese won the long jump with a school record distance of 22-09.00. Not only did her mark set a new school record, but it was the furthest jump in the world this year.

The Gulfport native has won eight consecutive long jump titles this season that span both the indoor and outdoor seasons.

Reese also claimed the title in the high jump at LSU by improving her NCAA regional mark to 5-11.25 to record the second best mark in outdoor school history. She has now finished first in the high jump each of the three times she has competed in the event during the outdoor season.

Reese also anchored the Ole Miss women's 4x100 meter relay team that finished in fourth place at LSU with an NCAA regional time of 45.46.

Reese and the Ole Miss track and field teams return to action this weekend in Des Moines, Iowa, at the prestigious Drake Relays.

Coach Joe Walker's program hosts its final home meet of the season – The Mississippi Open – on Sat., May 3.

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Playing their best so far this year, the Ole Miss softball team hosts South Carolina for three games this weekend. The games are a doubleheader Saturday beginning at 1 p.m., with a 1 p.m. single game on Sunday.

Coach Missy Dickerson's team has won five of its last seven games - all SEC road contests - with two wins at 12th-ranked LSU, a win at 9th-ranked Tennessee, and two wins at Arkansas.

The games this weekend against USC are the last of the regular season for softball.


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