Coral Gables Regional: A Look at Ole Miss’ opponents – Miami, Arizona and Canisius
OXFORD, Miss. – After receiving its fourth-consecutive bid to the NCAA Tournament, Ole Miss is set to play Friday against Arizona in Coral Gables, Fla., in the opening round of regional play — barring any postponement due to a hurricane possibly headed that way.
The Rebels and Arizona are joined by top-seed Miami and fourth-seeded Canisius, and the winner of the four-team series will meet the winner of the Southern Miss regional.
— The Rebel Walk (@TheRebelWalk) May 30, 2022
While Ole Miss took the third seed in the event, just who are the other three teams playing this weekend at Mark Light Field?
The Rebel Walk takes a look at the three other teams in the Coral Gables Regional.
No. 1 Seed Miami
The Hurricanes are 39-18 and finished the Atlantic Coast Conference season at 20-10 after losing two straight in the ACC Tournament to North Carolina State and Wake Forest.
THE STUDS AT THE PLATE: Three Canes hit over .300 this season, led by CJ Kayfus’ .369 average. Yohandy Morales paced the team with 14 homers while Jacob Burke drove in 56 runs.
THE ARMS: Carson Palmquist led the team with a 9-4 record, a 3.09 earned run average and 108 strikeouts. Andrew Walters picked up a team-high 13 saves.
WHO ARE THE MOST-FAMOUS MIAMI ALUMNI: First there is “The Rock,” Dwayne Johnson, who played football for the Canes but added to the wrestling flavor of the topic.
Lex Luger and other “fighters” who paid tuition in Coral Gables are Kimbo Slice from Mixed Martial Arts and Rocky himself, Sylvester Stallone. Also Star Trek creator, Gene Roddenberry, actor Ray Liotta, singers Erinque Iglesias and Grace Slick also attended UM.
SOMETHING COOL ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI: The school’s official colors are orange, green and white to represent the orange tree. The orange is for the fruit itself, the green for the leaves and white for the blossoms. After the fruit turns black and dies, the school still won’t wear that color.
NO. 2 SEED ARIZONA
The Wildcats are heading to the regionals with a 37-23 mark, 16-14 in the PAC-12. Arizona was 2-2 in the league tournament beating Arizona State and Oregon, but losing to Stanford twice.
THE STUDS AT THE PLATE: Daniel Susac led the Cats with a robust .367 average while Chase Davis belted a team-high 16 homers. Susac also led the team by driving in 61 runs.
THE ARMS: Reliever Quinn Flanagan – who could not sound more Irish even if he went to Notre Dame – has a 1.72 earned run average while appearing in 31 games. Arizona uses the “Johnny Wholestaff” approach with no Wildcat pitcher earning more than five wins. Closer Trevor Long has seven saves.
WHO ARE THE MOST-FAMOUS ARIZONA ALUMNI: Talk about timing, with the recent release of “Top Gun, Maverick,” the director of the original movie, Jerry Bruckheimer is an Arizona alum. As are Kourtney Kardashian, Kate Walsh and Garry Shandling of the entertainment world.
We can also toss in Greg Kinnear, Kristen Wiig, Geraldo Rivera and Nicole Ritchie as part of the UofA alumni base.
SOMETHING COOL ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA: The university served as the backdrop for two famous college-based movies, Rodney Dangerfield’s “Back to School,” and the classic “Revenge of the Nerds,” were both filmed around campus.
NO. 4 SEED CANISIUS:
Despite having the coolest nickname at the regionals – the Griffins – Canisius went largely unnoticed with a 29-22 overall record and a 15-9 mark in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
The Griffs earned the regional bid after sweeping four games in the conference tournament, outscoring their opponents 43-15.
THE STUDS AT THE PLATE: Max Grant started all 54 games this season and ended with an impressive .402 average. He also led the team in doubles (13), triples (6) and home runs (10). Mike Steffan kept Grant from making a clean sweep of the offensive stats by driving in a team-high 56 runs.
THE ARMS: Matt Duffy and Chris Pouliot are the Grifs’ 1-2 punch with each finishing with an 8-2 record. Duffy struck out 116 batters this season. Peyton Consigli posted a 3.15 ERA in 22 games and had a team-high seven saves.
WHO ARE THE MOST FAMOUS CANISIUS ALUMNI: The Griffs produced the WWE’s Beth Phoenix, former Chief Executive Officer of Verizon Communications, Dennis F. Strigl, chef Anne Burrell and a boatload of politicians that attended the Buffalo, N.Y. school.
SOMETHING COOL ABOUT CANISIUS COLLEGE: Something very few schools can boast, but Canisius can is it served as the home field for a National Football League team. Around 1917, the Buffalo All-Americans signed a contract to play their home games on campus. The team played there for seven seasons.
Canisius can also boast a world champion professional football and basketball player. Dick Pollon played for the Washington Redskins when they won the 1942 NFL title, while Johnny McCarthy won an NBA championship with the 1963-64 Boston Celtics and Michael Smrek won two titles in the mid-1980’s with the Los Angeles Lakers.
(Feature image credit Petre Thomas, Ole Miss)
Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers.
He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio.
A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series.
Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time.
He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk.
Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.