Talent. Coaching. Clean defensive play. Pitching depth. A stable of good hitters.
Some luck. A red-hot team coming in maybe having an off day. A fourth-seeded team getting red-hot at the right time.
Ole Miss has had some of all that in recent years. One last hit against Texas late would have done it. Keeping Miami's hitters in check late a couple of years ago would have done it.
I'm still a little amazed at the season Georgia continues to have. That run the Bulldogs made through SEC play was impressive. Start with talent on that Georgia team. Go from there.
They've talked on the ESPN broadcast about how Georgia is a team not only with talent but filled with confidence in their abilities. They seem to know they are going to get it done. They're close to doing that. Driver's seat deal, you know.
LSU got on that roll late and was basically unstoppable. You had to feel somewhere along the way they'd get de-railed. But it took a while before the UNC grand slam did them in with Warren Morris, making his first trip back to Omaha since his highlight for the ages, looking on.
Like ‘em or not, having two SEC teams go deep and with one still playing helped the league offset the reputation it had this year for being down. I'd just as soon Georgia win it all myself. Why not? After three CWS appearances lately, they've already established themselves as a pretty strong program.
I'm encouraged knowing who is returning for the Rebs. I do believe there is a strong nucleus of guys coming back to lead another run into the postseason, hopefully deep again.
It is significant that Basham and Power are returning, as we've already talked about. Their play and their leadership will be valuable.
And with guys like Baker, Smith, Ferguson, Miller, Bukvich, Button, Henry, and McKean, as well as some talented newcomers who will get some playing time, things are shaping up nicely.
One of these years all the key ingredients will align and they'll get there. Maybe it's '09.
The announcement of an acceptance of a bid for the BPF is big. Big for Ole Miss. Big for basketball here. Big for the coaches and players.
It's taken a while. When Carol Ross got here in 2003 after several years at Florida, the Gators had recently opened theirs. Florida's set an early SEC standard.
Georgia and Kentucky were basically next with South Carolina playing in an entirely new arena. Vanderbilt added a practice area, not necessarily a BPF, to its playing gym. Mississippi State is talking about doing something fairly soon.
Basketball wants a home and now it's getting one. Both the Rebels and Lady Rebels will benefit from this, now and into the future.
To be situated at the corner of Coliseum Drive and Highway 6, it should be a nice addition to that side of the campus where a number of athletics facilities have ended up in the past decade anyway – like the Gillom Center for volleyball and indoor tennis, along with the soccer and softball stadiums.
I've always been in what appeared to be a fairly large number of people who felt the BPF should be nearer the coliseum. Or maybe in a location that you could at least feel like a new arena might be built someday.
That doesn't appear to be the case with where this one's going. But here are a couple of conclusions I've accepted.
One, the thing just needs to be built – somewhere, anywhere, for both these important hoops programs.
Two, who knows where a new arena, which might be 20 years down the road, could be built? If it's across Highway 6 as some have suggested, then the current BPF could have been over there by itself for a long time. Not good.
And if a new arena is 20 years away, and time will tell if that's the case, then a new BPF might be included in those plans, and the one being built now used for something else anyway.
I'm just pleased for Andy Kennedy and Renee Ladner and their progams - and Ole Miss - that we're about to see some dirt moving.
CWS watching; new BPF
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