In the round of 64 of the NCAA tournament, the No. 12 seeded SEC champions, the Ole Miss Rebels, take on the No. 5 seeded Wisconsin Badgers. Ole Miss has all the tools to pull off one of the first major upsets of the NCAA tournament.
Although Ole Miss is a 12 seed, the Rebels are 26 – 8 on the season behind the outstanding performances of SEC scoring leader, Marshall Henderson, and SEC blocks leader, Reginald Buckner. The Rebels won back to back games against Missouri and Florida to win the SEC title; the type of performance that can reflect a team’s NCAA tournament readiness.
Wisconsin is a good team with one of the best defenses in the country. However, one of the Badgers’ greatest weaknesses all season has been their defense inside and not defending crucial threes at the end of the game; exactly what the Rebels are good at doing to opponents. The Badgers will be the favorites in this game, but Ole Miss is on a mission to prove that it deserved the SEC championship. Wisconsin will not be able to dictate the pace of the game like they have throughout Big 10 play. Jared Berggren has to have an outstanding game, and, as he proved in the loss to Michigan State, he doesn’t show up in big games that aren’t against Indiana.
The Rebels will win this game behind Holloway and Buckner’s toughness and defense, not Henderson’s shooting. Expect this game to be close until midway through the second half and Ole Miss to pull off the upset.