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Ole Miss Basketball is projected as an 8-seed in NCAA Tournament. How does the resume look at this time?

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The Rebelsharks can tread water all the way to March Madness

NCAA Basketball: Mississippi at Georgia Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Basketball—a wonderful, terrible sport—entered into the minds of the Ole Miss faithful singing its siren song in January.

A 3-0 start to conference play including wins over Top 25 teams like Auburn and Mississippi State had the Rebels and first year coach Kermit Davis being championed as the surprise team of the season.

Reality has an unfortunate way of crashing these kinds of parties however. Ole Miss lost five-of-six games against solid conference competition before buoying itself last week with a perfect week against Texas A&M and Georgia. The Aggies, at times, had the Rebels reeling at home before ultimately losing in the Pavilion, but the Georgia game looked to be one of the Rebels’ most complete games of the season, especially with being on the road.

But, what do the latest numbers show? Mainly, that the Rebels stacked up valuable wins and despite enduring a losing streak, two wins last week and the remaining eight games will offer them considerable opportunity to stay in the NCAA tournament.

Ole Miss’ tourney resume

NET rank: 36

KenPom rank: 41

Strength of schedule: 46

Record: 16-7 (6-4 SEC)

Record vs. Group 1 teams: 3-6

Record vs. Group 2 teams: 4-1

Record vs. Group 3 teams: 3-0

Record vs. Group 4 teams: 6-0

Record at home: 9-3

Record on the road/neutral site: 7-4

Notable wins: No. 20 Auburn, at No. 29 Mississippi St., No. 34 Baylor, No. 62 Arkansas

Notable losses: No. 16 Iowa St., No. 17 LSU, No. 24 Cincinnati, at No. 53 Butler, No. 43 Alabama, No. 41 Florida, No. 29 Mississippi St.

Obviously, the big knock here is that the Rebels haven’t had a top 50 win since the upset on the road in Starkville. But the good news is that all the losses are pretty good to great losses. No one on the tournament committee is going to fault the Rebels for losses at home against Iowa St., LSU or Mississippi St. - all top 30 NET teams.

Additionally, neutral and road losses to Cincy, Butler, Bama and Florida are all top 60 teams, so none of those really sting or tarnish the resume.

This is why playing in a more competitive league has raised the profile for more teams in conference. If this was four or five years ago, Ole Miss is on the outside looking in.

Ole Miss bracket projections

Joe Lunardi (ESPN): 8-seed

Jerry Palm (CBS): 9-seed

USA Today: 8-seed

Right now, the losses are holding up the Rebels in a decent place. There’s no loss grenade that caused a problem on the schedule, but there are some remaining in the schedule Ole Miss has to avoid.

The Rebels have two games against Missouri (NET: 91), one game against South Carolina (NET: 99) and one game against Georgia (NET: 114) that could potentially really hurt. Winning those four would in my opinion cement Ole Miss’ place in the tournament even if the Rebels lost on the road to Arkansas.

Speaking of losses...

A look at Ole Miss’ losses

Let’s look at some of the numbers for the teams Ole Miss has fallen to so far this year.

Iowa State

Record: 18-6 (7-4 Big XII)

NET rank: 16

KenPom rank: 15

Mississippi State

Record: 16-7 (4-6 SEC)

NET rank: 29

KenPom rank: 26

Florida

Record: 12-11 (4-6 SEC)

NET rank: 41

KenPom rank: 38

Alabama

Record: 15-8 (6-4 SEC)

NET rank: 43

KenPom rank: 46

LSU

Record: 19-4 (9-1 SEC)

NET rank: 17

KenPom rank: 21

Cincinnati

Record: 20-4 (9-2 AAC)

NET rank: 24

KenPom rank: 27

Butler

Record: 14-10 (5-6 Big East)

NET rank: 53

KenPom rank: 52

There’s really no bad news to report on this front even with Florida having an 0-2 week their metrics actually improved because they played Auburn and Tennessee.

That is one piece of the equation left for Ole Miss is home games vs. Tennessee and Kentucky who are both currently top 10 NET teams. Playing and losing to them may even cause a one or two spot bump in the rankings especially if the games are somewhat close.

Other than Butler just outside the top 50, Ole Miss’ losses continue to bolster its schedule in the eyes of the tournament selection committee.

Next up for the Rebels is a road tilt with Auburn - a top 20 NET team who has a nearly perfect record at home. ESPN’s basketball power index puts the Tigers as a 86 percent favorite to win while KenPom puts it at a 78 percent chance to win.

So how will the Rebels fare in the final eight games of the season? Can they avoid the upsets remaining and make it to the tournament for the first time in four years? Comment or tweet @RedCupRebellion with your take on the bracket and how Ole Miss is shaping up this season.