SEC Basketball: Ole Miss Rebels Preview, 2014 NCAA Tournament Chances
The current raining SEC Champions, the Ole Miss Rebels, were expected to not be as good as they were last year this college basketball season, because Reginald Buckner and Murphy Holloway had left, so the Rebels would have to rely on Marshall Henderson to step up his scoring. That hasn’t been the case as Ole Miss has finished non-conference play with a 9 – 4 record.
However, as non-conference play ends and SEC play begins, the Rebels have to be disappointed. Ole Miss was four three-pointers away from being undefeated going into SEC play. The Rebels lost to the Kansas State Wildcats by three, the Mercer Bears by three and the Dayton Flyers by three in overtime. Even in their overtime loss to Oregon, Henderson had an opportunity to end the game from three-point range.
The Rebels are led in scoring by Henderson, of course, but Jarvis Summers has stepped up and averages nearly 18 points a game. The biggest surprise on the Ole Miss team has been the way that other players like Demarco Cox, Aaron Jones and Sebastian Siaz have stepped up in rebounding; all three average at least six a game.
At 9 – 4, Ole Miss still has a clear opportunity to make it to the 2014 NCAA Tournament as long as it performs decently in SEC play. The SEC is one of the most difficult conferences in college basketball and it’s going to be tough for the Rebels to prove themselves. However, if any team can pull off major upsets in the SEC, it would be the Rebels and Henderson. Expect Andy Kennedy’s squad to at worst go to the NIT with a potential 2014 NCAA Tournament bid possible.