Ole Miss basketball must win the SEC tournament to receive an invitation to March Madness and continue its postseason play. After a blowout loss to the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Saturday, the Rebels finished the regular season one game under .500 at 15-16 and will not be invited to the NIT tournament or NCAA tournament without an exceptional run in Nashville this week.
In a disappointing second year for Kermit Davis’ team, the bright spot has shined through the play of Breein Tyree. When the senior point guard, and potential SEC Player of the Year (forget you, Howell Trophy) has balled out, the Rebels have won games. He is the heartbeat, and the system flows through him.
Even with the significant reliance on Tyree, Ole Miss has played potential Elite Eight teams like Kentucky and Auburn tight on the road, and if each game that was lost by five points or less had gone the other way this season, the final record would have been 21-10. For a team that has played so poorly at times, there have been moments of potential that showed the ability and talent necessary to win games. That potential needs to click to the fullest degree this week, and the Rebels need to close down the stretch for a Cinderella run to be even considered a possibility.
The draw does not present itself well for a historic push, and includes a bout with No. 1 seed Kentucky should both teams reach the semifinals, but stranger things have happened.
Ole Miss will open it’s tournament week with head coach Tom Crean and Georgia on Wednesday. Though the year’s first meeting went in favor of Davis by a score of 70-60, the Bulldogs boast likely top-five pick Anthony Edwards at guard, who will duel it out with Tyree to try and advance to face No. 5 seed Florida.
Here is the entire conference tournament schedule: