Ole Miss basketball limped into the SEC season coming off a loss to Samford, and then it immediately lost its first SEC game and seemingly senior leader in Jarkel Joiner to injury.
But then, the insertion of Daeshun Ruffin into the starting lineup was a shot in the arm of a weak offensive team. The creativity and quickness of the McDonald’s All-American allowed the team to get looks they were otherwise not able to create without him.
With Ruffin now out for the season, the team has fallen back on the returned Joiner to lead them, well, probably nowhere?
There are seven SEC games remaining and the Rebels currently sit in 13th place with a conference record of 3-8, with a loss to a 3-7 Missouri squad. The good news is the Rebels still have matchups against Mizzou and 1-10 Georgia ahead of them. The season can go one of two ways from here, a furthered absolute disaster or a salvage job.
Best Case Scenario
The best case scenario for Ole Miss at this point is going 5-2 down the stretch with road wins over Mizzou and Georgia to separate themselves from the bottom dwellers and home wins against South Carolina, Vandy and Texas A&M. The two losses would certainly comes from road matchups against No. 1 Auburn and No. 5 Kentucky.
Perhaps even better of a best case, Ole Miss catches one of the two ranked opponents slipping and gets a massive program win (only to lose to Georgia as the sacrifice to the basketball gods).
Finishing 5-2 would almost assuredly bump the Rebels to a 9-seed in the SEC tourney with a chance to get hot and rattle off a win or two before ultimately being invited to the NIT. Would also finish with a 17-14 overall record.
Would a best case scenario actually be going 0-7, leading to a 12-19 record, last place finish in the SEC and the removal of a certain head coach? SOME WOULD SAY YES.
Worst Case Scenario
Worst case scenario would be the Rebels remaining in 13th with a 1-6 or 2-5 stretch at the end. With Mizzou and Georgia being road games, there is no guarantee they walk in there and come out victorious. What a disaster this would be for a team Coach Davis claimed to be the deepest in the SEC. Try recruiting more than one point guard coach.
Imagine not even getting a postseason invite to anything but the SEC Tourney, and only because they have to send you invite. A poor finish in this manner would not play well for the recruiting staff trying to convince a transfer they are the missing piece when the transfers have had problems fitting in this season outside of Nysier Brooks who basically plays 40 minutes per game.
Regardless of scenario, this season as been downright awful. Matthew Murrell and Ruffin provide hope, but you'd better hope with today’s transfer portal, they are happy enough to remain a part of the struggle going forward.