Once again, Ole Miss found itself in a double-digit halftime hole during an NCAA Tournament game. But this time there would be no dramatic surge to a miracle win -- the Rebels' 2015 season came to an end with a 76-57 loss to six-seeded Xavier in the second round of the Big Dance.
It turns out that second-half offensive explosion against BYU -- which saw the Rebs shoot 60 percent from the field while storming back from a 17-point deficit -- was indeed a mirage. Ole Miss shot just 32.9 percent from the field against Xavier, looking out of synch from tip to finish. Stefan Moody scored an unimpressive 14 points and Jarvis Summers finished his disappointing senior campaign by going 0-for-8.
Xavier's star duo of Matt Stainbrook and Dee Davis, meanwhile, combined for 37 points. The Rebs had no answer for the hulking Stainbrook -- foul trouble was the only thing that slowed him down and he still managed to rack up nine boards and five assists. But it was the Rebels' perimeter defense, once again, that really buried them: Xavier hit 10 threes.
Still, Ole Miss was able to keep this interesting for most of the way. A 13-5 cut Xavier's lead to 10 points before the six-minute mark. But that was as close as they could get. Xavier turned it on down the stretch and pulled away.
All in all, the 2014-15 Rebel basketball season is most definitely a success. They won 21 games and made the Big Dance for the second time in three years. The collapse down the stretch and the early exit from the SEC Tournament puts a damper on things, and you do have to wonder what the Rebel team that reeled off six consecutive wins earlier in the season could have done in the NCAAs. But, hell, a Tourney appearance is a Tourney appearance, and we did get to enjoy that epic comeback win in the play-in.
Don't worry, y'all, it'll be football season before you know it.