A loss at any point during the SEC Tournament would have probably put an end to lingering NCAA Tourney hopes harbored by the Ole Miss hoops team, which needed to drive the distance in Nashville in order to dance for a second year in a row. But after Andy Kennedy's team took the very first exit, some folks are questioning whether the Rebs will even make it into the NIT.
For Ole Miss not to make the consolation tournament would be an injustice to SEC hoops fans everywhere—not because anyone wants to watch AK cycle helplessly through defensive alignments or Anthony Perez put perfectly good size and talent to waste, but because we all deserve to see more Stefan Moody. The senior, who dropped 39 points in vain during the loss to Bama on Thursday, makes any game he plays in—yes, even a first-round NIT matchup—a wildly entertaining two-hour affair.
Fortunately for those who aren't ready for Moody's gravity-defying circus to fold up its tent, the Rebs are in decent position to get one of the 32 NIT invites (and for those wondering, Ross Bjork already said Ole Miss would "certainly accept an invitation"). There isn't a lot of NIT bracketology out there, but all three of the reputable sites we were able to dig up have the Rebs in.
Ole Miss NIT projections as of Saturday, March 12
The Bracket Matrix: 6-seed Ole Miss vs. 3-seed Florida State in Tallahassee, Fla.
Big Apple Buckets: 5-seed Ole Miss vs. 4-seed Princeton in Princeton, N.J.
DRatings.com: 6-seed Ole Miss vs. 3-seed Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va.
There's pretty much no way the Rebs get a seed high enough to host a first-round game in The Pavilion, and it would take some crazy upsets to get Ole Miss hosting in the later rounds. Still, there are some intriguing matchup options. Tell me you wouldn't watch the hell out of that Ole Miss-FSU game, which would provide yet another reason for Rebel and Noles fans to hate each other when they meet up in Orlando for the 2016 football opener. That same projection sets up a potential rematch between Ole Miss and Florida down the line.
Bracket Matrix NIT projection has Ole Miss v. Florida State in same pod as Florida, Temple. pic.twitter.com/tesSxxL6wQ— John L. Pitts (@JohnLPitts) March 11, 2016