After a week of vacation, it's sort of nice to be sitting in the office on Memorial Day watching Heat-Celtics and proofing pages. Meanwhile, here's what's going on.
***Troy's baseball team finished up the year 28-30, starting the Sun Belt Tournament strong with wins over 3-seed FIU and 2-seed Arkansas State, but a loss to 7-seed Middle Tennessee on Saturday morning meant the end of the season. In pool play, all it takes is one loss. Troy finished the year winning 6 of its last 7 3-game series, as the SBC Tournament was a 3-game series, but didn't have enough gas in the tank to get a sweep in any of those. Going 28-30 was a disappointment, since the Trojans were picked tied for first with FIU. It capped off a year in Troy athletics where the only positives in all sports can be defined as "a few nice wins" or "a few nice stretches here and there." But the baseball Trojans were pretty good in the second half of the year after a rough first half. The optimism for Troy is that only four seniors depart and most of the 2012 regulars will not only be back in 2013, but also in 2014. Brilliant performances from Tyler Ray, Nate Hill and Danny Collins earned them spots on the all-tournament team. I'll try to get a recap/lookahead for baseball in the next few days. ULM won the tournament and is the Sun Belt's lone regional team, playing LSU first on Friday.
Troy was 6-5 against NCAA regional teams, going 2-1 vs. ULM, 2-1 vs. Bethune-Cookman, 1-1 vs. Samford, 0-2 vs. UAB and 1-0 vs. East Carolina.
It looks like the last remaining Troy competitor is javelin thrower Martins Pildavs, who competes in the NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa June 6-9.
***The Sun Belt announced a new league member in UT-Arlington, which will compete in all non-football sports. The Mavericks give the Sun Belt a presence again in the Dallas-Fort Worth market, and they're actually closer than North Texas was (but without the football). UTA will bring a baseball presence immediately, as the Mavericks are going to the NCAA Regionals after winning the Southland Tournament. UTA's inclusion begins July 1, 2013. There will be 10 football teams and 12 in other sports, divided into 2 divisions. WEST is UTA, Texas State, UL-Monroe, UL-Lafayette, Arkansas State and UALR. EAST is Troy, South Alabama, Middle Tennessee, Western Kentucky, Georgia State and Florida Atlantic. That's a tough basketball division.
The link above has some stuff from the Sun Belt spring meetings.
Bigger news indicate for sure that the Sun Belt isn't pursuing New Mexico State and Idaho for football-only membership. It's too bad I didn't start covering Troy until 2005 and missed out on trips to the Kibbie Dome and Las Cruces, when those teams were earlier in the conference.
***Now we focus to football, where you're really reminded it's here if you go to the Sun Belt's main site and see the upcoming events as football games, such as McNeese State vs. Middle Tennessee and South Alabama vs. UTSA on Aug. 30.
If you read PreSnapRead like I do, and its countdown, you probably read about Troy checking in at No. 100. Other Troy opponents so far, and Paul does a daily countdown, are as follows: North Texas (102), Middle Tennessee (114), Florida Atlantic (116), UAB (117), South Alabama (123). ULM rotates off Troy's schedule, but the Warhawks are at 107. Texas State joins the Sun Belt for 2013 and is at 121.
It's almost the end of May, and fall practice should start around the beginning of August. The next big moment is Sun Belt Media Day, which goes back to New Orleans on July 16.
***This article is a couple of weeks old, but it said that former Trojan OL James Brown was impressive in Bears rookie camp, and also alluded to why he wasn't drafted. Also of note, former cornerback Jimmie Anderson reached a deal with the Edmonton Eskimos last week of the CFL and will be headed up that way shortly.