The 64-team field has been set for the 2017 NCAA baseball tournament, and missing from the field is the Ole Miss Rebels. After an early exit from the SEC tournament, Ole Miss wasn’t able to survive the fall to 37th in the RPI. The Rebels finished the season with an overall record of 32-25 and a 14-16 conference record.
Ole Miss fails to qualify for the tournament for the first time since the 2011 season. This is just the third time in Mike Bianco’s 17 year career as head coach that the Rebels’ season ends without a berth in the NCAA tournament.
After early season success had fans thinking about a trip back to Omaha, the Rebel offense was unable to power the team to any type of consistency. Ole Miss finished near the bottom of the conference in just about every offensive category. The team’s young talent showed flashes of talent, but the players that made up the top recruiting class never seemed to fully adjust to the speed of the college game. Four freshmen finished the season under the .240 mark at the plate. The young group will undoubtedly learn from this season, and Rebel nation will be expecting big things when 2018 rolls around.
The Rebels will lose 3B Colby Bortles and possibly 2B Tate Blackman, so a storyline to look out for is, who will step up and become the leader for the Rebels next season? Ryan Olenek and Will Golsan played their roles well in 2017, and either of them could be the one to lead the way in 2018.
The pitching staff did their part to keep this Rebel team in contention despite the lack of run support. The staff finished in the top-5 of ERA (3.60), strikeouts (524), saves (18), hits allowed (451) and several others. Only Sean Johnson graduates from the staff, so the Rebel pitchers have a great chance to duplicate their success next season.
Eight teams from the SEC qualified for the tournament including Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi St., Texas A&M, Vanderbilt.
To see the NCAA Tournament Field, click here.
Steven Gagliano is the managing editor of HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.