Bianco: Nothing like being at home for regional
After playing three of the last four NCAA regionals away from Oxford, Ole MIss coach Mike Bianco said there has been no substitute for being at home so far this week.
With the No. 1 seed Rebels less than two days away from opening up the Oxford Regional against Jacksonville State, Bianco said Wednesday prior to another practice at Oxford-University Stadium that sleeping in the same, comfortable bed really does have its advantages.
“It’s night and day and I think it’s the factor that nobody talks about,” Bianco said about being home compared to playing on the road like at N.C. State last season. “I think it’s bigger for the guys more mentally than physically. Last year, we didn’t know for a couple of days how we were getting (to N.C. State), whether we were chartering or flying and how all that was going to turn out. Of course you’ve got the players and their parents and will they be able to get there? Will they fly? Will they drive?
“You try and tell the players not to worry and that they’re grown ups and they’ll figure it out and that this is your time, but it’s a big thing and everybody wants everything to work out,” Bianco continued. “When you’re at home, a lot of those type of things you don’t have to worry about. Besides sleeping in your own bed and your parents knowing where to come and where you’re going to eat and those type of things, it’s much easier.”
Not looking ahead
A question that Bianco, and the Ole Miss players, have continued to be asked this week is about a possible matchup with Mississippi State in the super regionals. In order for that to happen, Ole Miss has to win three games this weekend, and hope the Bulldogs, or one of the other two teams in the Lafayette (La) Regional upsets the No. 6 national seed Ragin’ Cajuns.
“I think our players, 100 percent know, they have to worry about Friday night. I know that as soon as (the matchups) came out, that’s what the fans want to talk about, but the truth of the matter is both of us have to win a few games before that’s something to even think about,” Bianco said. “We’re focused on what’s going to happen here this weekend.”
Here are video interviews of Ole MIss first baseman Sikes Orvis and pitcher Chris Ellis, the Rebels’ number one starter, before Wednesday’s practice.
Ole Miss opens the four-team, double-elimination regional Friday night against Jacksonville State (36-25), winners of the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament. For more on the Oxford Regional, see Thursday’s print edition of the NE Mississippi Daily Journal as well as Friday’s print edition of the Oxford Citizen and oxfordcitizen.com