Congratulations are in order for Stefan Moody, whose 70 minutes of full-throttle basketball against State and Tennessee have earned him SEC player of the week honors for the second time this season. Little wonder, since the dreadlocked sharpshooter poured in 51 points on 14 treys, 10 steals, and a single turnover to boot. With triumphs in eight of their last nine outings, Andy Kennedy's men have beefed up their NCAA Tournament résumé, and the latest seeding divinations like the Rebels proportionately more this week.
Ole Miss' RPI was jostled slightly over the weekend, with the latest NCAA calculation holding the Rebs at No. 34 (Joe Lunardi essentially feels the same way). Remarkably, Ole Miss leapfrogged Georgia in the RPI over the weekend, so Wednesday's rematch in Oxford gains an added dimension: the Bulldogs are more vulnerable to dropping out of March Madness consideration (they're among the last four in, according to USA Today), so they're playing with a lot to lose.
A win against Georgia would add another top-50 RPI victory, while a potential meltdown in Baton Rouge later in the week would nick the Rebels' veneer. LSU's RPI rank has held steady at around the 53 slot, while Ole Miss has shown steady improvement since last month's grueling collapse in Oxford.
Rebs projected as a 7 or 8-seed
Most projections this week see Ole Miss as a solid 8-seed. USA Today's Shelby Mast projects Ole Miss against Colorado State in the South Region, which places the Rebels just below Duke's first-round firing squad. Jerry Palm at CBS Sports pairs the Rebels with Michigan State in an East Region topped by Virginia, while NBC Sports' Dave Ommen sees Ole Miss in the South playing Purdue.
Joe Lunardi at ESPN holds the Rebs in the highest regard and currently slates them as a 7-seed against Iowa in the West Region. Iowa was also in the first-round-opponent conversation last week, and their recent back-to-back wins may have set them on a collision course with Ole Miss come tourney time.
Obviously, a 7-seed in the Round of 64 is preferable for the Rebels, insofar as the basketmen won't have to turn around on two days' rest to fight with a Duke, Virginia, or Gonzaga. It's unlikely that, given an 8-seed, bracket-makers will throw Ole Miss in next to Kentucky, since they'd like to avoid pitting two regular season foes against one another so early in the tournament.
This will be an important week for the Rebel hoopsters. They're looking to avenge two bad losses and, from a March Madness perspective, these upcoming contests are where a 7-seed -- or, pray, a 6-seed -- will be earned. Jarvis Summers has reasserted himself on the offensive side of things, while Snoop White has waned in points production lately. AK said this week that he'd like to see more confidence from Snoop off the pop, and as the regular season winds down, White indeed must let out the clutch.