The Ole Miss Rebels missed an opportunity to tremendously boost their NCAA Tournament resume last night, a statement which itself is far too white-washy over just how bad last night's 16-point loss to the Tennessee Volunteers in Knoxville truly was. The Rebs were never really in the game, trailing from the get-go to the Vols and suffering a double-digit deficit for much of the contest.
Despite a slow start, during which he spent some time on the bench after being incidentally kneed in the gut, Marshall Henderson put forth a strong performance with 26 points, two rebounds, two assists, and a pair of steals, but aside from his and Jarvis Summers' (16 points, five assists) nights the Rebels were downright outplayed, out-hustled, and outmanned.
Consider this: Marshall Henderson and Jarvis Summers combined for 42 points. The eight other Rebels who saw time on the floor against Tennessee scored just 28. Ole Miss couldn't rebound, protect the basketball, or get 50/50 balls to come their way. The team, frankly, looked more like what we thought they were in the offseason than what we thought they were a week ago.
So what does this mean for the Rebs going forward? At 5-2 in the SEC, with the highest quality win being either LSU at home or Vandy in Nashville, the Rebels will probably have to get a major win or two - meaning Kentucky or Florida - along with double-digit SEC wins to be on the bubble. So, no, it's not good.