The Ole Miss basketball season hasn’t gone like most fans expected.
Sitting at 15-15 and just 6-11 in the SEC, the Rebels need a win today over in-state rival Mississippi State to avoid a losing season before entering the SEC tournament as a bottom four team. Ole Miss fans were likely thinking this season would be led by senior guard Breein Tyree for a repeat NCAA Tournament appearance, surrounded by a couple impact newcomers and returning promising freshmen KJ Buffen and Blake Hinson.
But, the Rebels have lost almost every close game (less than five points) it has played this season — a one-point loss to Memphis, four-point losses to Arkansas and LSU in Oxford, a one-point overtime loss to Auburn, a five-point loss at Kentucky, and a three-point defeat at Mizzou. The only close win came against Penn State about 300 years ago in November.
If only the team could have flipped half of those six close losses, we would be in a much different place clearly going into this season finale. But it bears repeating the Rebels aren’t that far off from where Mississippi State (19-11, 10-7 SEC) sits. Ultimately, Ole Miss lost the games though, and State has a chance for the NCAA Tournament if it can get hot right now.
So, yes, a Rebel win today would be very debilitating for the Bulldogs’ slim chances of making the NCAA Tournament. We would HATE to see that for sure.
Tonight’s game also marks the final regular season game for Tyree who is a top 10 career scorer for the program, and he will pass Justin Reed for sixth all-time if he can score 18 more points this season. It can’t be understated how much Tyree has put into the program, though it hasn’t meant a lot of postseason success. The New Jersey native showed legit flashes as a freshman, has progressed into one of the best scorers in the SEC the last two years, and has stamped his legacy on the program for many years to come.
Breein Tyree @Breety5 has been on a tear the past few weeks! In a rivalry game vs Mississippi State he had 40 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists! Check out the full highlights and follow him on his profile: https://t.co/b5bfxRIfc0 pic.twitter.com/e05or2mVg1— NextOnes.com (@NXT1S) February 14, 2020
State is a clear favorite when the ball tips at 5:30 in “THE HUMP”, but Ole Miss has won 10 of its last 13 against MSU including a 25-point blowout in Oxford earlier this year. Last time these two teams tangled in Starkville, Ole Miss beat a top 25 MSU squad 81-77.
Line: Mississippi State -6
How to watch
Where: The Humphrey Coliseum, Starkville, Miss.
When: 5:30pm CST
TV: SEC Network
Online streaming: WatchESPN