STARKVILLE -- Normally high school coaches are afraid of letting their teams have fun at the expense of opponents. Starkville Academy baseball coach Neal Henry isn't one of those people. In fact, Henry encouraged the brooms to come out in his dugout late Thursday evening in a 6-5 and 11-8 sweep of East Rankin Academy at Volunteer Field.
Dispatch sports writer Matt Stevens examines five questions for the Mississippi State University football team as spring practice begins:
East Mississippi Community College rodeo coach Morgan Goodrich felt like a proud parent Wednesday night. A dream four years ago becomes reality later today when EMCC plays host to an Ozark Region spring rodeo. The three-day event runs through Saturday at West Point's Eagle Ranch.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- University of Alabama Athletic Director Mal Moore is stepping down to become special assistant to the president because of health problems after a lengthy reign at his alma mater that ended with the Crimson Tide's football program back on top nationally. The university announced the move Wednesday. The 73-year-old Moore, who played and coached for Paul "Bear" Bryant" and then hired football coach Nick Saban, has been hospitalized at Duke University Medical Center since March 13 with pulmonary problems.
HATTIESBURG -- Jonathan Mills tried to put away the Charleston Southern University men's basketball team. So did Neil Watson. Neither could do it. Instead, it was four points in the final 20 seconds from unheralded Rashard McGill that gave the University of Southern Mississippi a 78-71 victory against Charleston Southern in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State University strength coach Matt Balis expects a much less dramatic spring session for wide receiver Michael Carr than in his first tour of duty with the football program.
STARKVILLE -- It wasn't how anybody associated with Mississippi State University baseball program planned it but the result was effective.
When New Hope High School senior right-hander Landon Boyd takes the mound, the Trojans don't have to make all the defensive plays.
STARKVILLE -- Scott Sallach is essentially returning to a spot and place he never left. When Dan Mullen and Tim Brewster talked last month about the importance of Scott Sallach to the Mississippi State University football staff, they had no idea how correct they were. MSU announced Monday afternoon that Sallach would return to the field to coach this spring.
STARKVILLE -- The 2012-13 season was a numbers game for the Mississippi State University men's basketball program. Unfortunately, on most occasions, those numbers weren't very appealing.
OXFORD -- The Marshall Henderson road show has at least one more stop. The University of Mississippi men's basketball team's polarizing and high-scoring guard averaged more than 23 points per game in the Rebels' run to a Southeastern Conference title. Along the way, he dumped 27 points on the University of Missouri, flummoxed Vanderbilt University's defense, and mocked the University of Florida's crowd by doing the school's gator chomp after making a big 3-pointer in the championship game.
Just imagine what Mercedes Mattix will be able to accomplish when she has more time to practice. With only two days of practice and coming off a long basketball season, the New Hope High School junior kicked off her outdoor track and field season in style Saturday, winning the 100, 200, and 400 meters at the Mississippi State University High School Invitational at Maddox Track.
STARKVILLE -- According to an old saying, shame on Mississippi State University baseball. LSU senior first baseman Mason Katz fooled MSU again for a home run after hitting two Friday night at Dudy Noble Field. Katz took a first-inning fastball from starting pitcher Evan Mitchell deep over the trailers in the left-field lounge to get No. 7 LSU started on the way to a 7-1 victory against No. 13 MSU on Saturday night.
STARKVILLE -- As he watched the bat tower over left-field lounge at Dudy Noble Field on Friday night, Mississippi State University baseball coach John Cohen realized he didn't make his message clear enough to his pitchers. Minutes after Cohen went to the mound to remind starting pitcher Jacob Lindgren not to let LSU cleanup hitter Mason Katz beat him with first base open, Lindgren left a changeup over the heart of the plate on a 3-1 count. Katz didn't miss the opportunity.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The University of Mississippi men's basketball team can breathe much easier on the edge of coach Andy Kennedy's first NCAA tournament berth in his seventh season. Now it is setting its sights on a Southeastern Conference tournament championship first. Marshall Henderson scored 23 points as Mississippi beat Vanderbilt University 64-52 Saturday in the SEC tournament semifinals, putting the Rebels into the title game for the first time since 2001.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The University of Mississippi men's basketball team's NCAA tournament hopes aren't dead, and a new Southeastern Conference rivalry is born. Derrick Millinghaus made a driving basket with 1.1 seconds left Friday as No. 3 seed Mississippi rallied from a 14-point, second-half deficit to beat No. 6 seed University of Missouri 64-62 in an emotional SEC tournament quarterfinal that featured NCAA tournament intensity.
TULSA, Okla. -- Donnie Tyndall got the University of Southern Mississippi men's basketball team about as close as a team can get to clinching a trip to the NCAA tournament without doing it. Selection Sunday will still be a nail-biter in Hattiesburg after the Golden Eagles allowed Chris Crawford to score 20 of his 23 points in the final 13 minutes and No. 20 Memphis beat Southern Miss 91-79 in double overtime Saturday in the Conference USA tournament title game.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The No. 13 University of Florida men's basketball team finally showed it can win a close game. All it takes is for senior guard Kenny Boynton to answer his coach's challenge. Held scoreless for the first 25 minutes, Boynton had 11 straight points during a critical 15-0 run Saturday as No. 13 Florida erased a 10-point, second-half deficit to beat the University of Alabama 61-51 in a Southeastern Conference semifinal.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- University of Alabama guard Trevor Releford isn't taking anything for granted. Fourth-seeded Alabama boosted its NCAA tournament hopes Friday by beating No. 5 seed University of Tennessee 58-48 in a Southeastern Conference tournament quarterfinal, but Releford realizes that doesn't guarantee anything.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The University of Alabama football team began spring practice Saturday afternoon with a two-hour workout in shorts and helmets on the Thomas-Drew Practice Fields.
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