Ole Miss met Georgia twice last season and dropped both games in disappointing fashion. The second of those losses, a 76-72 humdinger, bode poorly for the Rebs' preparedness heading into the 2015 NCAA Tournament, as ugly losses to LSU, Vanderbilt and South Carolina progressively back-heeled them onto the bracketology bubble.
This year's first meeting with the other Bulldogs transpired in considerably better, if not wholly convincing, fashion, as a last-second Stefan Moody layup sealed a 72-71 win on ribbon-cutting night in The Pavilion. The Rebs' and Dawgs' fortunes have since run in parallel, with both clubs going 6-7 over the last seven weeks of the season. At No. 81 and 86 on KenPom's rankings respectively, Ole Miss and Georgia are trending in similar directions through late February, though the Rebs are riding a two-game winning streak into Athens Saturday, while Mark Fox's crew are flailing about aboard a three-game losing streak.
And yet, neither team has marshaled the consistency to rip off a winning streak of more than two games since Christmas, which speaks worse of Ole Miss' No. 78 strength of schedule rank to Georgia's No. 25. The NCAA's latest RPI rankings align closely with Pomeroy's assessment as well: Ole Miss sits at No. 82 and Georgia No. 86. All told, both clubs are playing with a lot to lose Saturday, Andy Kennedy's with perhaps more, though, inasmuch as the Rebs still remain in the conversation about teams loosely orbiting around the bubble.
Both teams appear virtual locks to find themselves dancing into an NIT bracket come selection weekend, and at least one prognosticator considers both teams veritable 6-seeds. Ole Miss and Georgia join Alabama and LSU as NIT-caliber squads that must win the SEC Tournament for a shot at the Big Dance, and if the season ended today, the Rebels would slot into a No. 6 seed in a second round game against No. 11 Tennessee.
These, then, are the stakes as Ole Miss and Georgia meet in Athens Saturday. The former an extremely outside shot at the NCAA Tournament; the latter terribly in need of some self-respect.
How to watch:
Game Time: 11 a.m. CT
TV: SEC Network
Online Streaming: WatchESPN