There was elation over the Ole Miss women’s basketball making the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, but quickly the realization set in that the Lady Rebels got a very tough draw.
Ole Miss made its second consecutive tournament after compiling a 23-8 record and finishing fourth in the competitive SEC. The hopes were that the Rebels would get maybe a six or seven seed after being one of the only teams in the last two seasons to really push No. 1 South Carolina and nearly upsetting them in Oxford.
However, Ole Miss saw its name announced as an 8-seed and paired up with No. 2 nationally ranked Stanford in a possible second round game. Not ideal at all but additionally the 9-seed was slated to Gonzaga.
Real quick stats on Gonzaga: a 28-4 record overall, wins over top ten Louisville and top 25 Tennessee, and shoots nearly 42 percent from behind the arc. Yes, this team plays in a weaker conference, but this seems like a ridiculously difficult draw for Ole Miss.
Toss in the fact the game is being played on the left coast, and it only adds to the situation. The Rebels will have to come into Friday’s game with a chip on its collective shoulder and defend the perimeter aggressively to get itself in a position to win.
Coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin will be trying to win her first NCAA Tournament game since her arrival at Ole Miss. Last season, South Dakota knocked out Ole Miss in the first round 75-61 after the Rebels best season in years.
It’s clear Coach Yo has rebuilt the Rebels’ program, now it remains to be seen if Ole Miss can log the upsets needed to really make noise nationally. And it starts this weekend.