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.

Choose Love

“Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.” -Ghandi

Me and Ghandi aren’t necessarily on the same page with a lot of things, but I have to agree with him here. Occasion demands I write the whole truth.

My post went viral yesterday. Many thousands have read it, and several hundreds have commented. I read most of them.

Many comments were in support of my post and the players.

Many others wrote that they could not and would not tolerate anyone kneeling during the national anthem. For most of those people, respect for the flag comes first, above anything or anyone else.

I love our country, too, but in this particular instance “Respecting the Flag” is sidestepping the actual issue.

Ask yourself this question:

“Do I think standing during the National Anthem is more important than the way hate groups marching on the Ole Miss campus in support of confederate relics and emblems made my black friends, Ole Miss players, neighbors and co-workers feel?”

I do not.

I know most of you are good, Bible-believing southerners like myself that don’t miss church on Sundays if you can help it.

The Bible is really clear on this.

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”

The Bible has a lot to say about love.

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Funnily enough, the Bible has NOTHING to say about a national anthem, kneeling, standing, an anthem or a flag.

A few brave Ole Miss players have given us a chance to finally be on the right side of history, and I would also argue, the right side of eternity.

I am 100 percent certain that our God in Heaven is not going to choose a flag, a song, a statue or even a country over one hair on the head of one of his children — black or white, red or brown, kneeling or standing.

Love says that outrage about a flag or an anthem is misdirected.

If you choose love for your neighbor, then your outrage will be directed at anyone who would make one of our black brothers, sisters, friends, neighbors or PLAYERS feel hated, unloved, unlovable or pained because of the color of their skin.

I know that probably (hopefully) most of you agree with me about this, but there is a vocal minority that do not. I cannot stay silent about something this important. To do so would be cowardice and I refuse to be a coward even if it means losing Facebook likes and Twitter follows.

On Wednesday night, Ole Miss will face Tennessee. It’s a huge game all by itself, but after all the national headlines from Saturday, you can bet that the sports world will be watching to see how Ole Miss fans respond to what happened on Saturday.

Thanks to those Ole Miss players we have a moment that could allow us to turn history on its head. We have the chance to do what’s right and be the change.

What’s right is to support the players who did something really brave in the face of hate and in the face of a lot of ambivalent white people who don’t want to take the time to empathize with what it might be like to be a black man on a campus with racists marching through it (If this was you it’s not too late to change. It’s never too late to change).

I would submit that you almost have a moral obligation to go buy a ticket or give yours to someone that will use it. Because what is right is to unite behind the players and yell, “Go Rebels!” at the top of your lungs on Wednesday night. Let those players feel your love and support, pack the Pavilion and beat Tennessee.

Choose love.

Hotty Toddy.

There’s never been a better time to unite

A 72-71 win over Georgia on Saturday was probably scarier than it should have been.

But Ole Miss survived!

Now Ole Miss gets rewarded with a HUGE game Wednesday night against Tennessee. Thanks to that win over Georgia, the Rebels probably don’t have to beat Tennessee or Kentucky to make the Tournament, so Ole Miss is playing with house money. A win would probably clinch a spot for the Rebels in the Big Dance. It would also be an incredible boost of confidence as we head toward the post-season.

Ole Miss is projected as an 8 seed by CBS and ESPN. The Vols, who lost to LSU in overtime on Saturday, are a Top 10 team and projected 2 seed.

This is BIG BOY basketball, in our house. I’m hoping the Pavilion will be rocking. Getting that 20th win against Tennessee would be really special.

There has never been a more perfect time for everyone to unite behind these players.

My post from yesterday about supporting the players that kneeled during the National Anthem in protest of the Confederate protesters went viral. Many people seemed to be in agreement with me. However, judging by the comments, many people don’t. I can’t hope to change any minds on this, but I do hope that people will unite behind this basketball team.

BASEBALL: The Rebels took 2 out of 3 from Tulane over the weekend, to improve to 4-2, but I’m a little worried about the starting pitching. Ole Miss had to get it done with offense and a whole lot of relief pitching.

Hopefully when Will Ethridge recovers from the blister on his throwing hand and the young guys get a little more experience things will start to balance out.

Fortunately, hits have been easy to come by. Thomas Dillard is on fire. Through 6 games his stat line remains absurd (.522 / 4 HR / 15 RBI).

True Rebels

Confession: I was on the anti-kneeling side of the argument when the debate was swirling around the NFL two years ago.

Like most of you, I love my country, and I was taught from a young age to stand with reverence during the National Anthem. It’s ingrained in me.

Also, I couldn’t put an actual face on what was being protested by the NFL players, which made it difficult for me to empathize with their position. Ignorantly perhaps, I couldn’t understand why the NFL players were causing so much commotion. I didn’t get it.

That was not the case on Saturday in Oxford, when a small group of people hijacked the Ole Miss campus to support flags, statues, relics and traditions that are obviously hurtful and painful to black people.

The Confederate protesters put an ugly face on a segment – hopefully a small and shrinking segment – of our population that has no place in my country, the country of which I remain proud.

But I was willing to sit idly by as though the Confederate support march was a mere nuisance. Not that I condoned their protest. I just didn’t give it much thought. That’s easy for me to do, since I’m just an old white guy.

It’s actually sad (for me) that I needed the players to kneel to point that out.

Maybe the real story here isn’t that the Ole Miss players kneeled during the National Anthem, but that it took Ole Miss players kneeling to help me, and hopefully others like me, to realize that what those Confederate protesters were doing wasn’t just a nuisance. It was hurtful to actual people. People that we care about.

For that, I feel like I owe the players an apology. I am sorry.

It took the brave act of a courageous few to shine that light where it needed to be shined through the peaceful act of kneeling during the National Anthem.

I’m still not a kneeler, but I wish I could have been there to kneel with those boys on Saturday.

In my mind, they are the true Rebels.

I support the players.