Ole Miss basketball won’t boost its chances for a higher seed in the NCAA Tournament with a win Thursday. The Rebels, projected by most as an eight or nine seed, would need to advance to and win a second-round matchup against Kentucky in order to climb the seeding ladder.
But there is a good chance a win over Alabama at the SEC Tournament would end the Crimson Tide’s hopes for an at-large bid on Selection Sunday. Bama, losers of three straight and six of its last eight, is currently listed by ESPN’s Joe Lunardi as one of the last five teams left out of the Dance. They need a run in Nashville to fight their way in. A loss to the Rebels would send them to the NIT.
When these teams last played in late January, Ole Miss was riding a No. 20 national rank. Bama pummeled them in Tuscaloosa, handing the Rebels a 21-point loss that remains Ole Miss’ worst defeat of the season.
“Give Alabama credit, they’re a good offensive rebounding team,” Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis said after the game. “They played desperate tonight.”
That desperation will be watched up even higher on Thursday. Bama should come in hungry and ready to make a run, but one thing in Ole Miss’ favor is a sub .500 record (7-9) for the Tide in road/neutral site games. The Rebels meanwhile boast a 9-6 record in road/neutral site games.
The winner of Thursday’s game will advance to play top-10 Kentucky, who will be relaxing and enjoying some hot chicken in Nashville on a bye. Another benefit of winning is adding another game against Kentucky to the overall strength of schedule, win or lose.
How to watch
Where: Nashville, Tenn.
When: 6 p.m. CT
TV: SEC Network
Online streaming: WatchESPN
Ole Miss vs Alabama
|Strength of schedule||47||25|
|Record vs. Group 1 teams||4-10||3-8|
|Best win||17 Auburn||5 Kentucky|
|Adj. offensive efficiency rank||28||82|
|Effective FG% rank||67||165|
|Adj. defensive efficiency rank||73||61|
|Opp. effective FG% rank||174||105|
|Adj. tempo rank||127||110|
So how do you think tonight’s game shakes out? Where will you be watching it? And if its Buffalo Wild Wings, are you definitely getting mango habanero sauce? Comment or tweet @redcuprebellion with your predictions.