What a difference a week can make in college basketball.
Ole Miss and head coach Kermit Davis sat at 1-7 in the SEC last Monday with a three game homestand ahead of them. The Rebels’ overall record have fallen below .500, and the season looked like it was dead in the water.
Then it pulled off a Lazarus-like resurrection out of the doldrums of February basketball - a 2-0 week against South Carolina and Florida. And we’re not talking buzzer beaters or two possession victories, no sir, we are talmbout double-digit, dominating wins.
The Rebels (12-11, 3-7 SEC) are now looking at an eight game stretch to define its chances for the postseason. Yes, we’re going there, because this past week has us interested again and hopeful for this two-game win streak to gain momentum.
Tomorrow, Ole Miss will host Mississippi State in Oxford, which is of course a rivalry game, but it is also quite possibly a win that would propel the Rebels back onto the postseason radar.
But there is still much more work to do from there. It’s likely the Rebels will need to finish strong, at least 5-3 in the last eight games, to get into the postseason or NIT discussion. According to projections that are about a week or so old, Tennessee and South Carolina were in line to end up in the NIT with Alabama on the outside looking in for now.
Finishing at 8-10 in the SEC wouldn’t necessarily solidify a postseason bid, but a win or two in the SEC Tournament would better Ole Miss’ chances for sure. In this scenario, I would assume a loss at Kentucky, at Auburn and at Mississippi State while piling up wins at home against MSU, Mizzou, Vanderbilt and Alabama with a road win at Mizzou as well.
Sound nuts? Well, it is, in a way. For a team who is 12-11, expecting the team to galvanize and win 63 percent of its remaining games, make a little run in the SECT, and overcome teams who have shown they are more consistent so far this season, it’s absolutely nuts.
But this is also coach Davis’ 22nd season of college basketball, a game where he’s amassed more than 500 wins, and somehow he got this team back winning again. The team is better than its record in my opinion, and you take the two losses by one-point to Memphis and Auburn, flip them to the win column, and this is a 14-9 team capable of knocking off five of its last eight to secure a postseason bid.
Ole Miss basketball has dug itself a hole, but right now, it seems like it’s ready to start climbing out.