The Ole Miss Rebels blew an opportunity in Charleston last week to add a quality win or two its postseason resume. None of the losses were backbreaking losses, but the failed chance to add decent non-conference wins could haunt the Rebs come March.
Kermit and company have eight remaining non-conference games remaining. Within these eight games, there are some must win, can’t lose and potential great win games ahead of them. I have put together a formula to power rank the importance of the games. The formula includes the average of how devastating the loss would be and how impactful the win would be on a scale of 1-10 with a deviation in place from home/road games.
Remaining Opponent Impact Power Rankings
No. 9 Memphis Tigers (17th in KenPom)
This is the single most impactful possible victory on the Rebels schedule non conference or SEC. If Ole Miss found a way to put up enough points against this stout defense, they will have bubble potential for sure.
Mississippi Valley St (358th in KenPom)
Statistically the worst team in D1 basketball. This game is the antithesis of the Memphis game as a loss here would be the most impactful negative mark on a resume placed in front of the committee.
Rider (270th in KenPom)
Another game Ole Miss cannot afford to drop. The Rebs are fortunate all eight of these games are home games, hopefully making this a less stressful game, but still one they can ill afford to botch.
Middle Tennessee State (262nd in KenPom)
MTSU has simply not been the same since Coach Kermit Davis left for Oxford, making this another can’t lose match up. The most discouraging part about these last three opponents, is that a win does not move the needle at all, while a loss could be devastating.
Kansas State (86th in KenPom)
This could be a quality win for Ole Miss slapped in the middle of conference play. There is a chance that the two teams will be much closer together in the KenPom rankings by time this game takes place, making this a game that won’t kill Ole Miss to lose but won't make the committee fall in love with them either.
Dayton (130th in KenPom)
Another middle tier type game in terms of resume building. A loss here only truly matters if its the difference between 9 total or 10 total losses, but the quality of loss won’t be a huge impact and the win would only slightly move the needle. The Rebels would be favored at home in this matchup.
Western Kentucky (108th in KenPom)
No Charles Bassey for the Hilltoppers should lead to an easy win for Ole Miss, but when is anything easy for the basketball Rebs? A middle of the road resume game that will ultimately be an interesting game.
Samford (234th in KenPom)
Admittedly higher up in KenPom than anticipated, a Samford win, while expected, again won’t impress the committee. It is certainly a must win in terms of avoiding a bad loss.
The path is there for the Rebs, a 7-1 non-conference run is certainly possible and probably exactly what needs to happen. If they happen to sneak up on Memphis for the upset, they will be in prime position to fight for a bubble spot in the NCAA Tournament.