Coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin has to be a little surprised to see Texas A&M on the schedule Friday in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals.
After all, the Aggies (9-19, 2-14 SEC) were the 13-seed headed into the conference tournament after first year coach Joni Taylor took over for the legendary Gary Blair. But Taylor’s years of experience at Georgia has shown thus far with back to back upsets over 12-seed Vanderbilt and then 5-seed Mississippi State the last two days.
Ole Miss (22-7, 11-5 SEC) has been patiently waiting, meanwhile, and enjoying a double bye due to a thrilling 57-55 win over Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Sunday that secured the four seed. So the Lady Rebels will be fresh and playing a squad who will be on its third game in three days - what could happen here?
First off, it would not be shocking if the Aggies start out strong early, because the team has clearly found some success recently and are brimming with confidence. If the Rebels get down in the first quarter or even half, it would be understandable as Ole Miss is playing its first game in the arena and shaking off whatever jitters it might have.
But by the second half, I would imagine the smothering defense of Ole Miss is going to take its toll. Texas A&M has damn near given up its two upsets late due to the inability to break a full court press, so Coach Yo may see that as an opportunity early and often to get some extra possessions.
A win on a neutral site against TAMU isn’t going to really move the needle with the selection committee to improve Ole Miss to a higher seed, however, if the Rebels make the semifinal round it would make two consecutive years for the first time since ‘98-’99 to do so. The last time Ole Miss made the SEC tournament final was 1983, and it has never won the whole thing. A lot of ball left to be played before fans get too ahead of themselves, first it’s taking care of what should be in all due respect a win over a tired and overmatched opponent.
Yeah, I’m fairly confident. And honestly, this season is the most women’s basketball I have ever watched in any season since Armintie Price and Carol Ross were smashing the SEC back when I was a student.
Tipoff is around 1:25 p.m. CT. Cheers!