Will they or won't they? MSU baseball wins 3 of 3; now have to wait a week to find out if they will be selected to play in the NCAA Regionals. MSU football recruiting continues. More alumni events this week. Track signs another player. Softball ousted from NCAA Region play, but have strong showing. Track women ranked and another high school track performer signs with the Bulldogs."/>

Monday Morning Coffee Break

Monday Morning Coffee Break

<img src="http://www.genespage.com/images/01columnists/gswindoll.jpg" align="left" width="120" height="161"> Will they or won't they? MSU baseball wins 3 of 3; now have to wait a week to find out if they will be selected to play in the NCAA Regionals. MSU football recruiting continues. More alumni events this week. Track signs another player. Softball ousted from NCAA Region play, but have strong showing. Track women ranked and another high school track performer signs with the Bulldogs.

BASEBALL...

Mississippi State (34-22, 13-17 SEC), with their sweep of Alabama, did what they had to do to put themselves into any chance of receiving an at-large NCAA Regional bid.

Until last year's selection of Florida, a team that did not make the SEC Tournament, no SEC team that had not made the tournament had ever received a bid to the NCAA Regionals.

Florida's regular season record last year was 34-19-1, including a 13-16-1 SEC record. Both are very similar to MSU's current record.

However, unlike Florida, which went 4-6 in its last 10 games of the season, MSU has won 6 of their last 10. MSU was also very good on the road, with a 14-8 overall record, while Florida was 3-13-1. Against top-25 teams, MSU is a decent 10-14. And, if you put any trust in Boyd's World RPI and SOS (Strength of Schedule) ratings, MSU is 30th in RPI and had the 34th toughest schedule in the nation.

One of the biggest problems that MSU will have to contend with is Florida was chosen over a team that made last year's SEC Tournament that had a very poor overall record (Vanderbilt 27-26). Florida also had a 27 RPI. So, it was pretty easy for the NCAA Baseball Committee to choose Florida over Vanderbilt.

However, the worst record of the teams that have made this year's SEC Tournament is Tennessee, which went 36-20. Tennessee also defeated MSU 2 of 3 in Starkville early in the season. Plus, going into the weekend, they had a 24 RPI. However, there are other factors that put MSU in a good light when compared to Tennessee. Tennessee didn't play well on the road, going 9-11. They also haven't performed well in their last 10 games, going 3-7. Their record against top-25 teams was 12-18. They also have a 64th SOS. Who knows, if they are ousted in 2 games in the tournament, MSU might get their spot. If not, then the NCAA Baseball Committee will have to select 9 SEC teams for MSU to get in, something that is unheard of.

Not sure if this means anything, but based on who Boyd's World had as the 30th RPI team for the last 7 years (1997-2003), all of them have been selected to play in the NCAA Regionals. Only 2 of the 7 got in by winning their conference tournaments and receiving an automatic bid. The other 5 received at-large bids.

  • 2003 Virginia Commonwealth (Tournament automatic bid)
  • 2002 Costal Carolina (Tournament automatic bid)
  • 2001 Virginia Commonwealth (2nd in conference regular season)
  • 2000 Florida Atlantic (2nd in conference regular season)
  • 1999 Virginia Commonweath (3rd in conference regular season)
  • 1998 Virginia Commonweath (Overall conference champion)
  • 1997 Long Beach State (Overall conference champion)

    MSU has a strong case, so maybe the good luck that MSU has seen the past two weekends may continue next Monday when the regional bids are announced.

    FOOTBALL...

    Here's a list of alumni meetings and Bulldog Family Celebrations (BFC) this week along with what MSU football coaches (and others) will be at the meetings.

  • May 25, Lowndes County Chapter, Columbus, MS., Trotter Convention Center, 6 p.m., BFC. Coach Croom.
  • May 25, Desoto County Chapter, Olive Branch, MS., 1 p.m., Golf Tournament.

    Recruiting...

    Here's a list of players that were updated in last week's Hot News and on my front page.

  • Jerrell Powe, DL, 6-3, 322, 5.0, Wayne County HS (Waynesboro, MS). Favs - Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Nebraska, West Virginia, Memphis, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Southern Miss, Tennessee. Offers - Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Nebraska, West Virginia, Memphis, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Southern Miss, Tennessee.
  • Andrew Farr, OL, 6-4, 295, 5.29, Pell City (AL) HS. Favs - MSU (leader), Ole Miss, Auburn, Alabama, Arkansas, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Tennessee. Offers - None.
  • Chris Rogers, CB, 5-11, 175, 4.4, Evangel Christian School (Lakeland, FL) Favs - Alabama, UCLA, Maryland, Kansas State, Mississippi State, Iowa St . Offers - Alabama, Iowa State.
  • Bud Chapman, WR, 6-4.5, 235, 4.6, Brookhaven (MS) HS. Favs - Florida State, Florida, LSU, Alabama, Marshall. Offers - None.
  • Mark Pettaway, RB, 6-0, 190, 4.6, Lovejoy (GA) HS. Favs - Ball State, Georgia, LSU, Maryland, Mississippi State. Offers - LSU, Maryland, Ball State.
  • Keith Fitzhugh, CB, 5-11, 180, 4.5, Lovejoy (GA) HS. Favs - Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Auburn. Offers - Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Auburn.
  • Chris Scott, OL, 6-4, 315, 5.3, Lovejoy (GA) HS. Favs - Florida State, Tennessee, Mississippi State, Auburn, Georgia, Duke, Vanderbilt, Florida, South Carolina, Nebraska, Ole Miss, Maryland, LSU. Offers - Tennessee, Mississippi State, Auburn, Georgia, Duke, Vanderbilt, Florida, South Carolina, Nebraska, Ole Miss, Maryland, LSU.
  • Derek Pegues, QB/CB, 5-11, 190, 4.5, South Panola HS (Batesville, MS). Favs - Tennessee (co-leader), Michigan (co-leader), Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Alabama, and Arkansas. Offers - Michigan, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Alabama, and Arkansas.
  • Ross Bailey, K, 6-1, 165, Madison Central HS (Madison, MS). Favs - Ole Miss, Alabama, LSU, Mississippi State and Memphis. Offers - None.
  • Domenic Natale, QB, 6-2, 195, 4.8, The Hun School (Princeton, NJ). Favs - Missouri, Syracuse, Louisville, Kansas, Kent State, Rutgers, Mississippi State, Townsend. LSU, Pitt. Offers - Missouri, Syracuse, Louisville, Kansas, Kent State, Rutgers, Mississippi State, Townsend .
  • Anthony Johnson, CB, 5-11, 185, 4.5, Provine HS (Jackson, MS). Favs - LSU (leader), Mississippi State, Auburn, Ole Miss, Alabama. Offers - None.
  • Jeremy Bibbs, RB, 6-2, 210, 4.5, Northwest Rankin (Brandon, MS). Favs - Alabama, Louisville, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State. Offers - None.
  • Danny Hicks, DL, 6-1, 285, 5.0, Pelahatchie (MS) HS. Favs - Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Southern Miss, LSU, Grambling State, Louisiana Tech, Notre Dame . Offers - None.
  • Derrick Outlaw, DE, 6-3, 250, 4.9, Starkville (MS) HS. Favs - Mississippi State, Southern Miss, Ole Miss, Auburn, Alabama, Memphis. Offers - None.
  • Brian Leggett, OL, 6-2, 285, 5.1, Meridian (MS) HS. Favs - Ole Miss (co-leader), West Virginia (co-leader), Southern Miss, Alabama, Army, Marshall. Offers - None.
  • Chris Spencer, OL, 6-4.5, 277, 5.1, Meridian (MS) HS. Favs - Ole Miss, Mississippi State, West Virginia, Southern Miss, Auburn. Offers - None.
  • D.J. Lacey, OL, 6-4, 319, 5.2, Raymond (MS) HS. Favs - Tennessee, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Alabama, Auburn, Miami. Offers - None.
  • Jordan Ellis, MLB/FB, 6-1, 225, 4.8, St. Stanislaus (Bay St. Louis, MS). Favs - Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Southern Miss, Vanderbilt. Offers - None.
  • Patrick Swoopes, OL, 6-5.5, 305, 5.3, Starkville (MS) HS. Favs - Florida, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Georgia, LSU, Mississippi State. Offers - None.

    SOFTBALL...
    Behind the brilliant pitching of junior Melissa Massey (18-9), MSU won the first game of Region play over Iowa, 2-1, in extra inning.

    MSU was not so lucky the next day, losing two heartbreakers to top-seed and 2nd ranked Cal-Berkeley, 2-1, and to third-seeded Florida Atlantic, 1-0.

    The hard-luck loser in both games was freshman sensation Kelli Miller (11-11) who, in her 11 innings of work, gave up just 3 runs (1 earned) on 9 hits and 2 walks.

    The Bulldogs, who ended the season 39-26, matched a program-high 4 victories vs. top 10-ranked teams and set a school record with 10 wins against top 25 opponents.

    TRACK...

    The women's track team, primarily due to junior sensation Tiffany McWilliams, is ranked 12th in the nation in the latest Trackwire Top-25 poll.

    The track and field coaches, already with what will probably be the best recruiting class in the nation, announced yet another signee with the addition of St. Aloysius (Vicksburg) High School pole vaulter Austin Golding. A four year letterwinner, Golding broke the Mississippi 1A State Record at the 2004 State Championships with his title winning height of 13-6 in the pole vault. Golding also won the regional meet and south state meet in the pole vault.


    Gene Swindoll is the publisher/owner of Gene's Page, the source for Mississippi State sports on TheInsiders.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.
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