Ole Miss basketball desperately needed a perfect week against Kentucky and Vanderbilt to return to the postseason conversation.
The Rebels answered in a big way, defeating Kentucky and Vandy in fairly convincing fashion, and now head to Nashville for the SEC Tournament.
Here is how the conference standings stacked up with the last game played Sunday (NET rankings in parentheses):
1.) Alabama (7)
2.) Arkansas (16)
3.) LSU (28)
4.) Tennessee (18)
5.) Florida (29)
6.) Ole Miss (53)
7.) Missouri (45)
8.) Kentucky (59)
9.) Mississippi St. (78)
10.) Georgia (94)
11.) South Carolina (134)
12.) Texas A&M (143)
13.) Vanderbilt (109)
TAMU and Vandy kick off the tournament with the winner playing No. 5 seed Florida, and winner of that game plays No. 4 seed Tennessee. For the Rebels, a game with South Carolina opens things up, and with a win, Ole Miss would play LSU then potentially Arkansas.
Kentucky faces off against Mississippi St., and the winner goes on to play Bama. While Mizzou and Georgia will tip off with the winner moving on to face Arkansas.
In terms of the postseason, Ole Miss has a precarious situation of needing at least two wins if not a run to the championship game to make the NCAA tournament. Obviously, if the squad pulls off a huge upset and win the whole thing, they are automatically in as conference tournament champions.
The Rebels sit at No. 53 in the NET rankings with its first opponent USC ranked at No. 134 - there is not a lot of bump the team will receive from a win here. A win over LSU, however, would be the fourth quadrant one win for the Rebels and would likely boost this team into the NCAA Tournament depending on how other conference tournaments play out.
It turns out one of the early season COVID canceled games may have cost the Rebels a great chance to have a stronger resume. Memphis sits a spot or two ahead of Ole Miss in the bracket projections, but these teams were supposed to play in early December. Now, we’ll never know how that game would’ve played out, of course - an Ole Miss win over a top 75 NET Tigers squad would have done wonders though.
Clearly, there is a lot to play for this week for Ole Miss. Additionally, there’s a laundry list of teams Rebel fans need to cheer against to improve it’s standings in the tournament selection committee’s eyes. Xavier, Drake, Boise St., Colorado St., VCU, Syracuse, Memphis, and so on and so forth - we hate all their guts this week and wish them no happiness come next Monday.