Sooners blow Ole Miss out of gym in disappointing finish to pretty good season

Ole Miss punched a ticket to the Dance and then fell flat on its face as Oklahoma raced to a 12-0 lead and finished with a 95-72 win.

The Rebs were never in it.

I’m not sure what happened to this team late in the season, as the Rebs lost 6 of their last 8, but Ole Miss didn’t seem ready to play against Alabama and the same looked true against the Sooners.

Baffling how effort could be an issue in the NCAA Tournament, but whatevs…

Maybe the truth is this team over-achieved early in the season and never really belonged here anyway.

Good luck arguing that the Rebs did belong after this blowout.

Oklahoma was 7-11 in the Big 12. These weren’t the Duke Blue Devils. Though Ole Miss did make the Sooners look like a contender.

It’s over now.

Kermit Davis has promise as a coach. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do with another year or two to recruit.

If Breein Tyree sticks around he could have a really special senior season. Devontae Shuler could explode into a star, too. But they need help. Kermit needs to get out there and find some help down low. If successful, next year could be fun.

It’s time to Dance

The NCAA Tournament we’ve longed for since the last time Ole Miss was in the NCAA Tournament is upon us.

The Rebs and Sooners tip off at 11:40 on TruTv.

Jim Nantz and the CBS Final Four crew will have the call.

This is big time basketball and Ole Miss is centerstage…at least for an hour or two. For many of us, that means it’s already been a successful season, but it’s so hard to get here I’d really like to stay a while.

The Rebels had a long break since losing to Alabama in the first round of the SEC Tournament. Hopefully, Kermit Davis used that free time to rekindle the fire that Ole Miss had during that 10-game winning streak that stretched from late November into early January. Back then the Rebels were playing with a lot of discipline, moving the ball around beautifully, slashing to the basket and drawing fouls. That’s what beat Mississippi State and Auburn. That’s what it will take to advance in this Tournament.

Davis is the SEC Coach of the Year. Let’s see what he can do with a full week on his hands.

Tyree and Terence Davis have immense talent. If Kermit has them coached up, we might get more March Madness. Survive and advance.

Kermit Davis named SEC Coach of the Year

Kermit Davis was named SEC Coach of the Year by the Associated Press, and rightly so.

In his very first season as head coach of the Ole Miss Rebels, Davis took a team picked to finish last in the conference and finished 20-11 (10-8 SEC). In so doing, he also probably helped Ole Miss punch its ticket back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015.

The Rebels finished 12-20 (5-13) just last year. Davis molded a team made of mostly those same players into a winner.

This remarkable turnaround was unexpected, to say the least. The AP called Ole Miss “the SEC’s biggest surprise.”

The coach of the year recognition is well-deserved.

Congrats to Davis.

Congratulations are also due to Ross Bjork. This one definitely belongs on the résumé.

Frankly, I questioned the hire of Davis last year. I wanted a splashier name. I thought Davis was the easy hire, but not necessarily the right one.

I was wrong.

Kudos to Bjork for a great hire and to all – coach, players and AD alike – for a great season. It’s been a fun one, and it’s still going.

Mizzou is a must-win

I’m no bracketologist, but Mizzou feels like a must-win for Ole Miss. Maybe I’ve just seen the Rebels on the wrong side of too many NCAA bubbles over the years, but I can’t imagine Ole Miss getting in if the Rebels lose four consecutive games to end the season.

ESPN still has Ole Miss as a 10 seed.

The Rebels are 36th in the NET rankings, which is actually up a spot since Tuesday.

I suppose it’s possible that the bubble is so weak that Ole Miss gets in no matter what, but I don’t believe it.

The Rebs can’t lose today and get in. They just can’t. That’s my take.

Tournament season has already started for Ole Miss.

Frustrated in Nashville

Sometimes I have to let time pass so I don’t let out all of my frustration onto this blog right after a loss.

I was frustrated after losing to Kentucky on Tuesday night. The Rebels have been on the cusp of staking their claim to an NCAA Tournament berth for more than a week now and they haven’t been able to get it done.

That’s frustrating all by itself.

Not being able to close out a win in any of the three straight losses is also frustrating.

I am a frustrated fan.

Your encouragements about how I should be happy because Ole Miss has far surpassed expectations in Kermit Davis’ first season as head coach ring hollow.

I just want to go to the NCAA Tournament and hear the CBS college basketball theme music with Ole Miss on the screen.

That’s what I want.

That is all.

Beat Mizzou.

Get it done, Rebs

I guess that thing I keep reading about the NCAA bubble being weak is true. Ole Miss is 37th in the NET, even after losing at Arkansas on Saturday.  That means the Rebels actually rose one spot from 38th despite a 2-game losing skid.

Joe Lunardi of ESPN currently projects the Rebels as a 10-seed.

Kentucky visits the Pavilion tonight (8:00, ESPN).

A win over the Wildcats (NET #5) would push Ole Miss into the bracket for good.

A loss means the Rebels probably need to beat Mizzou on Saturday. The Tigers are 13-15 and 4-12 in the SEC. No matter how weak the bubble is, the Rebels can’t end the season on a 4-game losing streak that includes a loss to Mizzou and expect to get in.

Thus, Mizzou is probably a must-win game if Ole Miss loses to Kentucky. That’s just this blogger’s opinion.

But let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

It’s Senior Night, and wouldn’t it be special for Terence Davis and the other seniors to get that 20th win and clinch an NCAA berth at home against the Kentucky Wildcats?

Ole Miss narrowly lost to Tennessee just a week ago.

If the Rebels get a hot hand, play great defense and work hard for rebounds, they can beat Kentucky. It almost happened against the Vols. It can happen against the Wildcats.

Let’s do this thing.

 

Ole Miss looking to clinch spot in NCAA Tournament

The Ole Miss Rebels are still looking to clinch a spot in the NCAA Tournament, as they travel to Fayetteville for a noon round of hoops with the Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday.

ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has Ole Miss pegged as a 9-seed in the East in the projections released Friday morning.

Beating Arkansas (14-14, 5-10 SEC) probably isn’t going to close the deal for the Rebels due to that subpar record, but losing would hurt. The Razorbacks, losers of six straight, are ranked 74th in the NET. Ole Miss is 38th. 

Ole Miss beat Arkansas 84-67 in January.

By my estimation, to seal the deal, Ole Miss really needs to beat Arkansas and Mizzou (95th) because either would be a bad loss.

A win over Kentucky probably also clinches a spot for the Rebs.

Despite losing to the Vols, Ole Miss looked really good on Wednesday night. Hopefully the Rebels have shaken that one off and they can continue that level of play and get that 20th win this weekend.

A fourth place finish in the SEC, which gets a bye in the conference tournament, is still in play for the Rebs.

Yeah, Ole Miss lost, but I’m feelin’ okay about it

The ending felt like a punch to the gut, and the sting lingered until I fell asleep, but 12 hours removed from the 73-71 loss to Tennessee, I’m feeling pretty good about the state of Ole Miss basketball.

If the Rebels can play every game the way they played on Wednesday night, they could go deep into March.

Terence Davis and Breein Tyree were awesome.

Speaking of Davis.

That’s gotta be one of the best Ole Miss dunks of all time.

The Rebels might have lost, but I think they won the eye-ball test. One made free throw probably gives Ole Miss a win over a Top 10 team. I can’t help but think that the Rebels won’t be penalized for that loss.

Three games remain:

Arkansas, Kentucky and Missouri. The Rebs are favorites in two out of three of those, and based on the way they played against Tennessee, I wouldn’t count them out against Kentucky.

If Ole Miss Basketball was a stock, I’m buying today.

Big night for Ole Miss hoops

Ole Miss has the chance to punch that ticket with a win against No. 7 Tennessee tonight.

Tip-off is at 6:00 (SEC Network).

The Rebels (19-8, 9-5 SEC) have a chance to claim sole possession of 4th place in the SEC standings with a W. A 20th win with three more regular season games to play would be outstanding.

Tennessee, ranked No. 1 just over a week ago, is reeling a little bit after losing two of its last three, although those losses came to really good basketball teams in Kentucky and LSU.

The game is a standing room only sellout, which I hope means no empty seats, vocal support for the team and ultimately a monumental win over the Vols.

There’s no sense pretending that the sports media world won’t be watching. National reporters will be on scene to see 1) Whether another Ole Miss player takes a knee during the National Anthem; and 2) The reaction, if any, from Ole Miss fans. The game itself will be secondary for them, but here’s hoping an upset over the Vols makes the final score the primary story.

Game Stats

TODAY: Baseball and Sunshine

This is one of those days when I really wish I lived in Oxford, Mississippi, where the forecast calls for sunny skies and a high of 64 degrees this afternoon when the Ole Miss Rebels (4-2) host UT-Martin (3-3).

I sure could use enjoy some sunshine, the smell of a hot dog and the sound of bats cracking and leather gloves popping.

Today, as I watch from my computer, I’ll be keeping an eye on Thomas Dillard, who is batting a smooth .522 with 4 home runs through the first six games of the season.

Dillard is the reigning SEC Player of the Week and Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week after hitting three home runs and 13 RBI over a four game stretch last week. He currently ranks 7th in the nation in home runs and 8th in RBI.

He’s not the only Rebel with a hot bat.

Tyler Keenan (.412) and Ryan Olenek (.500) both hit over .400 last week. Keenan also has 3 home runs.

Ole Miss is averaging two home runs per game, which ranks 5th nationally.

Jordan Fowler will start on the mound for Ole Miss.

It’s a good day for baseball. First pitch is set for 4:00 pm.