Losing games at home can be one of the most detrimental setbacks for an NCAA Tournament at-large bid.
Yes, Ole Miss’ Tuesday loss to LSU broke up momentum and yes, it had a negative effect on the Rebels’ resume for March Madness. However, LSU is still undefeated in SEC play and heading toward an AP top-15 ranking. For the moment, they’re all the way up at No. 16 in the NCAA Evaluation Tool or NET rankings. Not a bad loss, all things considered.
The Rebels fell just four spots in the NET, dropping from 24 to 28.
Take a deep breath. There’s a lot of hay still in the barn for this Ole Miss team.
Here’s the latest bracket projections and rankings for this Rebel team.
Ole Miss resume at a glance
NET rank: 28
KenPom rank: 37
Strength of schedule: 69
Record: 13-3 (3-1 SEC)
Record vs. Group 1 teams: 2-3
Record vs. Group 2 teams: 2-0
Record vs. Group 3 teams: 3-0
Record vs. Group 4 teams: 6-0
Record at home: 7-1
Record on the road/neutral site: 6-2
Notable wins: No. 22 Auburn, at No. 33 Mississippi State, No. 66 Baylor
Notable losses: No. 16 LSU, No. 35 Cincinnati, at No. 52 Butler
A couple of Group 1 wins is key here. It means the Rebels can absolutely compete and win with the best teams in the country. If the trend continues, it’s a huge statement for the tournament selection committee.
Ole Miss bracket projections
Sporting News: 7 seed
Joe Lunardi (ESPN): 7 seed
Jerry Palm (CBS): 4 seed
Sports Illustrated: 7 seed
Personally, I’m a HUGE fan of ole Jerry Palm with that four-spot for the Rebels. It is very unlikely we see the Rebels land at a four, so a more realistic expectation right now is in the 7-10 range.
A look at Ole Miss’ losses
Let’s look at some of the numbers for three teams Ole Miss has fallen to so far this year.
Record: 13-3 (3-0 SEC)
NET rank: 16
KenPom rank: 31
Best win: 71-57 vs. No. 28 Ole Miss
Worst loss: 90-77 vs. No. 68 Oklahoma St. (NET: 68)
Upcoming games: South Carolina, Georgia
Record: 15-3 (4-1 AAC)
NET rank: 35
KenPom rank: 34
Notable win: 71-57 vs. No. 28 Ole Miss
Worst loss: 73-71 vs. No. 221 East Carolina
Upcoming games: at Wichita State, Tulsa
Record: 11-7 (2-3 Big East)
NET rank: 52
KenPom rank: 38
Notable win: 83-76 vs. No. 28 Ole Miss
Worst loss: 84-76 vs. No. 98 Georgetown
Upcoming games: St. John’s, Villanova
From everything I have seen, Ole Miss is still projected to be solidly in the tournament at this time, and one of the main reasons is because it has no bad losses. The only team I think could develop into an issue out of these three is Butler, which has struggled to get big wins in conference play, but they have two big shots upcoming in St. John’s and Villanova.
As far as Ole Miss’ wins, it can’t be understated that Auburn and Mississippi State need to remain in the top 25 to really continue to bolster the Rebels resume. Auburn now ranks No. 18 in the latest NET rankings with a 13-3 record, while State is sitting at No. 32 with a 13-3 record.
Next up for Ole Miss is the Arkansas Razorbacks in the sold-out Pavilion. Arky sits at 10-6 for the season with a No. 76 NET ranking.