The Ole Miss Rebels were selected as a No. 1 seed in the NIT Tournament and were also selected as one of the four teams to replace a team in the NCAA Tournament if a team is affected by COVID-19. The Rebels (16-11) will find out on Tuesday if they are moved to the NCAA Tournament. The NIT has a field of 16 teams this year, and all games will be played in the Dallas area. The Rebels will play the No. 4 seed in Louisiana Tech on Friday night at 8 p.m. Mississippi State (15-14) is another No. 4 seed and will play a No. 1 seed in St. Louis at 4 p.m. in Frisco, Texas, on Saturday.
“March Madness” Ricky
The copying machines will be working overtime this week as all the NCAA brackets will be thoughtfully filled out. March Madness is a fitting title for this annual college basketball tournament. The three-week tournament is filled with roller coaster emotions, from “the thrill of victory” to “the agony of defeat,” to quote the famous former ABC television show Wide World of Sports announcer Jim McKay.
The NCAA tournament gets into full swing Thursday, with all 67 games being played in the Indianapolis area. The Gonzaga Bulldogs are the No. 1 seed in the West Regional and also the No. 1 overall seed in this year’s tournament. The Bulldogs are also the first undefeated team to enter the tournament since the 1975-76 Indiana team. Baylor, Michigan and Illinois are also No. 1 seeds in the South, East and Midwest Regionals, respectively. The Final Four weekend is set for April 3 and 5. Sadly, no tournament was played for the first time in 82 years as the 2020 tournament was cancelled because of COVID-19, so the last champion that was crowned was Virginia, who downed Texas Tech in the final game back in 2019.
The SEC has six schools in the tournament: Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Florida, LSU and Missouri. The Big Ten Conference led the selections with nine teams, followed the Big 12 and ACC with seven each. The PAC-10 received five invitations and the Big East four.
The USM Lady Golden Eagles (7-13) ended their season in their C-USA tournament opener losing to Florida International while the Golden Eagles (7-18) lost to Rice to end their campaign.
The Jackson State Lady Tigers won the SWAC Tournament title to gain an automatic bid to the Women’s NCAA Tournament. No. 3 seed Texas Southern upset the No. 2 seed Jackson State Tigers in the semifinals of the men’s tournament. Texas Southern then defeated Prairie View to win the conference tournament and the automatic NCAA bid.
Drew Brees announced his retirement this past Sunday. The Texas native led the New Orleans Saints to the 2010 Super Bowl title. Brees, 42, leaves the game as the all-time leading passer in NFL history.
Jackson State (3-0) rolled over Mississippi Valley, 43-7, and will hit the road to Alabama State while Valley (0-1) will not play again until April 3 as they host Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Millsaps (1-3) downed Rhodes College, 27-13, on Sunday night in Little Rock.
Southern Mississippi (9-6) swept Louisiana-Lafayette this past weekend. The Eagles will host Missouri State this weekend. No. 2 Mississippi State (13-3) swept East Michigan. This weekend the Dogs will travel to LSU to open league play. No. 4 Ole Miss (13-3) won two of three versus Louisiana-Monroe over the weekend. The Rebels will take on Auburn this weekend in Oxford. William Carey (15-2) is on a 13-game winning streak as they enter play this week.
Odds & Ends
The Mississippi All-Stars led by Rashad Bolden’s 25 points helped down Alabama, 93-91, in Montgomery this past weekend. The Mississippi gals fell to Alabama, 102-70, in their game.
The Leake Academy Lady Rebels won the MAIS overall title while Madison Ridgeland Academy won the boys’ title.