Various & Sundry Items

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We talked with Rick Stansbury and some of his players this afternoon, but first a few items of note from campus. The big news today is softball coach Jay Miller being named head coach to the U.S. national team. That’s a gig that runs up to and through the 2012 Olympics – problem is, softball will not be in the London Games. That could change for 2016, so Miller will be a huge part of the effort to get the IOC geniuses to change their minds. The U.S. won the first three gold medals in Olympic softball but lost to Japan last year in Beijing.

Nevertheless, a great honor for Miller, who has worked with the national team before as an assistant. He led the Junior National Team to gold in the 2007 Junior World Championships. He’s been a winner everywhere he’s gone; on Friday, he became MSU’s all-time leader in wins with 223. More on Miller later in the week.

MSU’s baseball season opener on Friday, against Northern Illinois in the BankFirst Challenge, has been moved up an hour to 5 p.m. More sunshine is good. That baseball preview I promised will not, it turns out, run in tomorrow’s Journal. But it will run this week.

Stansbury said today that junior Jacquiese Holcombe has been reinstated to the team. Holcombe, a 6-foot-6 forward, was suspended indefinitely on Jan. 29 for unspecified reasons. He hadn’t been playing anyway due to a leg injury; his last action was Dec. 18 against Cincinnati.

MSU (16-9, 6-4 SEC) hosts South Carolina (18-5, 7-3) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Can you guess who I’ll be writing about in my game advance? Yeah, Devan Downey, the Gamecocks’ stud point guard, who’s third in the SEC in scoring (19.9 ppg) and third in assists (4.4). I asked Phil Turner what he knows about South Carolina. “That’s all I hear about, is Downey. I’m pretty sure they have other great players, but Downey’s the one you think about when you think about South Carolina,” Turner said.

There was a lot of Downey talk today, but I’ll save most of it for Wednesday’s story and tie it into State’s recent defensive struggles.

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