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Rebel Roundup - April 9, 2012

Former Rebel All-American Zack Cozart's doing some strong work for the Reds.
Former Rebel All-American Zack Cozart's doing some strong work for the Reds.

Bat Cats Get Series Win 8-3 Over Ole Miss |
The two things for which we (and, especially, you the commentators) have been most critical of regarding Ole Miss baseball in the Mike Bianco era showed themselves in epic fashion this past weekend, as Ole Miss dropped two very winnable games to an admittedly good Kentucky Wildcats team. Still, our Rebs outplayed the Cats for most of the series and looked like the better team for most of the weekend, but found themselves unable to manufacture runs or keep runs from happening when they mattered the most.

On Friday, Ole Miss left ten runners on base and lost by one. The Rebs only scored two runs despite racking up 14 hits. (Questionable) calls at the plate, poor baserunning, grounding into double plays, impotent offense with runners in scoring position -- you name it. Everything we've been upset to see out of this team offensively took place on Friday night. The Rebs lost by one, again, to a team they significantly outplayed. That's baseball, I guess.

On Saturday, Ole Miss won. It's Kentucky's only loss at home this year. Surely, after playing well on Friday and Saturday, Ole Miss would win on Sunday and take the series, right?

Wrong. Another poor offensive showing coupled with questionable management of the Rebel pitching staff - the other gripe many Ole Miss fans have with Mike Bianco - led to a five-run Sunday loss. Mike Mayers was left in the game long enough to load the bases and then see them cleared with a grand slam in the sixth. It's both typical Ole Miss, as well as typical of a talented, albeit young, team. These are the growing pains we all felt we'd see.

As a result, the Rebels dropped from #10 to #18 in Baseball America's most recent poll. The upcoming series at Georgia is a must win if the Rebs are to have a .500-plus SEC record heading into a huge home series against the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Brassell's spring spent in classroom | The Clarion-Ledger
Hugh Freeze thinks sophomore athlete Nick Brassell's an "NFL corner." Despite the high praise from his coaches, though, Brassell's being held out of most of the spring practices to catch up to the rest of the team academically. While I'll have no sympathy for the guy if he doesn't make it - because, c'mon, "waking up and finding your way to a certain place at a certain time" isn't exactly the toughest thing to do, and you know that's all most 100-level courses ask of you - we could undeniably use him all over the field. He's a raw, athletic talent.

Robertson's World-Best High Jump Leads Rebels At Florida Relays |
You want some good news? Here: track and field star Ricky Robertson achieved the top high jump in the world (7-7.25 feet) at the 68th Florida Relays. Congrats, Ricky. Surely he'll win yet another SEC title in this event.

No. 6 Men's Tennis Defeats Ole Miss, Clinches Share of SEC Title | Kentucky Wildcats Official Athletic Site
The number 14 Ole Miss men's tennis team lost to the top-10 Kentucky Wildcats tennis team, mirroring their brothers on the diamond. But...

No. 16 Rebels Shut Out Kentucky On Senior Day |
The ladies didn't disappoint. The #16 women's tennis team shut out the Wildcats, improving to a 7-3 overall SEC record.

(UPDATED) ‘Yes it’s true:’ Hood plans to leave MSU | Clarion Ledger
While we've all been distracted by Petrino's motorcycle shenanigans and March Madness and Bubba Watson winning the Masters, a quiet yet continuing dumpster fire is burning in Starkville (greatly improving both the stench and ambiance of the Mississippi State campus), as the fallout from the basketball team's epic* collapse continues.

Rodney Hood, freshman who, just a year ago, was a five star small forward out of Meridian High School, will leave Mississippi State. It's gotten so bad, in fact, that even walk-ons are leaving the program. Poor athletics management, wavering fan support, and poor team chemistry has led to this for State, and it will be a few years before they're even an average SEC basketball team again.

Why is this important for us? Well, with the aforementioned garbage conflagration and Trent Johnson leaving LSU to take the TCU gig, Ole Miss basketball and Andy Kennedy have an incredible opportunity to get over that proverbial hump in both recruiting and wins.** Strike while the iron's hot, Andy. Do it.

*I hesitate to call it epic, only because I'm starting to realize that nobody outside of the state of Mississippi gives much of a shit's worth of a damn about Mississippi State or Ole Miss basketball. Think about it -- a coach "resigns" amid controversy, high profile players leave for the draft or transfer elsewhere, and a coaching search emerges with a handful of big names tossed around, and yet nobody from a major media outlet seems to want to take the effort to talk about it all that much. Considering that, it's hardly a surprise that State had to resort to hiring Rick "nobody has a damn clue who I am" Ray.

**That, and Schadenfreude is fun.