You Get What You Deserve

Sometimes you get robbed. Sometimes you get bad breaks. Sometimes you just don't have it. But most of the time, you get what you deserve. Read about it inside.

This offering will have two parts - the snub by the NCAA Tournament of the Ole Miss basketball team and the weekend series with Louisville in baseball.

But the theme will be the same - in most cases, you get what you deserve.

Andy Kennedy's basketball team knew what they had to do. Like it or not, they had to win at least one game in the SEC Tournament in Nashville to get an invitation to the NCAA Tournament and even then it was no guarantee. Minimum requirement, so to speak.

That was what the season boiled down to. Slice it up and dice it any way you'd like, but that was the bottom line.

Thanks, among other things, to a free throw shooting night of less than 50%, and the Rebs fell short.

Essentially, they didn't deserve to win and the end result was an invitation to the NIT, the "not in tournament."

A case could be made the Rebels belonged in the Big Dance, but I can't say I'm buying it - too many lapses at home, too much inconsistency, in this humble opinion.

After a good start to the season, with impressive wins over Kansas State and UTEP, the Rebs seemed to go in the other direction, particularly in not being able to close out Mississippi State and Tennessee while holding comfortable leads with less than 10 minutes to play and losing to Florida and Arkansas at home with less than inspired play.

There were clearly some chemistry issues going on. The suspension of junior Eniel Polynice at the end of the season clarified that.

And at this level of play it does not take a whole lot to derail the whole team. Out of synch teams do not usually advance.

The ankle injury to Reggie Buckner was also a major issue. Already short in the middle, taking away that promising young player right in the thick of things was a big factor, but injury is part of the game, something the deserving teams seem to overcome.

Mind you, I will never scoff at a 20-win season in hoops. You are not a bad team if you win 20 or more games.

But that does not make you a deserving team.

I am certainly not down on Kennedy's program. He's won 80 games in four years while operating in the worst coliseum to recruit to in our league and anyone who argues that is fooling themselves or has blinders on.

But if we are going to objectively discuss what this year's team deserves, it wasn't the NCAA Tournament bid it longs for.

Sure, an argument can be made for the Rebs, but remember this: you usually get what you deserve.

Looking ahead, past the NIT, which will have a hard time drumming up a lot of enthusiasm, the Rebels should have an opportunity to do some more good things next year and should kick down the NCAA Tournament barrier if they can get some help inside.

Kennedy and staff should reap some benefits from the new Basketball Practice Facility, which is very impressive and should provide a boost to his recruiting efforts and development of players.

But I must admit, I was a bit miffed at word coming out of UMAA and the University that something to help that eyesore of a coliseum was not in the immediate works. I don't have the answers to what should be done, but the status quo is not good enough if we expect much better results.

Moving on to this past weekend's baseball series with No. 8 Louisville, I only had a couple of moments of disappointment, but one of those essentially cost Mike Bianco's Rebs the series win.

One, in Friday's opener, the Rebs got a leadoff double in a 1-1 game late in the game. He got picked off at second on a messed up bunt attempt to move him to third.

That just can't happen. Period.

Two, the quest to find an effective Sunday starter continues.

Other than those two things - one that will be corrected, the latter a little more difficult - I left the stadium Sunday afternoon with a good taste in my mouth about the Rebel baseball team.

There's a lot of good things going on there. Drew Pomeranz and Aaron Barrett - the Friday and Saturday starters - give the Rebs a chance to win every time they take the mound.

The Rebs hit the ball hard against Louisville, except against their seemingly unhittable sidearm closer, who nobody is touching yet.

And I think the defense is pretty solid.

Personally, when Matt Snyder gets back from a dislocated shoulder in a week or so, I see good things on the horizon for this squad.

But, over this past weekend, they got what they deserved, winning one and losing two.

It normally happens that way after everything comes out in the wash.

In life, good effort and performance are usually rewarded. Poor performance is not. It's no different in athletics.


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