The 2018-19 Ole Miss basketball season was a surprising one to say the least but this past weekend was a rough one for others as well as the Rebels.
There is no disputing what first year head coach and Coach of the Year Kermit Davis and Ole Miss basketball accomplished in the 2018-19 college basketball season. Coach Davis was responsible for one of the top turnarounds in college basketball with a 20-13 season. During the 2017-18 season the Rebels record was 12-20. What Kermit Davis did was simply astounding.
The Rebels 20 regular season wins were good enough for Ole Miss basketball to see it’s ninth NCAA appearance in program history as the Rebels were picked as No.8 seed in the NCAA Tourney. The Rebels opened the NCAA Tourney one and done against a very hot shooting No.9 seed Oklahoma Sooners team and fell 95-72. No it wasn’t pretty and it stung but they far surpassed what was predicted in the preseason. Others had bad weekends too.
Rough For SEC
Ole Miss Rebels
With 7 SEC teams selected it marked the second most Southeastern Conference teams selected in the NCAA Tourney. In the 2017-18 season there were 8 teams selected and we know the Rebels were at home watching in Oxford so this was a special season for the Ole Miss basketball program despite the outcome of Fridays NCAA opener.
Our neighbors to the south of Oxford were selected as a No.5 seed in the NCAA Tourney and were matched up against No.12 seed Liberty which ended up with the Miss State Bulldogs taking an early unexpected 80-76 exit from the event and some Hugh Freeze tweets. Freeze is now head football coach for Liberty University.
Also exiting the NCAA Tourney was No.10 seed Florida who saw the next round after an 70-16 opening round win over No.7 Nevada but failed to be one of four SEC teams to see the Sweet-16 thanks to the No. 2 seed Michigan Wolverines who got the 64-49 win over the Gators to eliminate them.
The Lucky Ones
So the 2019 NCAA Tourney ‘Sweet-16’ sees 4 SEC teams in the third round. No.2 seed Tennessee found a first round 77-70 win over No.15 seed Yale and advanced. Tennessee then found a 83-77 OT win over No.10 Iowa to see the final sixteen in a matchup with No.3 seed Purdue. Also a No.2 seed Kentucky got a 79-44 first round win over Abilene-Christian and advanced to face a tough Wofford team in the next round. The Wildcats had their hands full but picked up the 62-56 second round win to make the Sweet-16.
The No.3 seed LSU Tigers have had to claw and scrap thru the first two rounds but made it to the final 16 teams in the NCAA. LSU found a first round 79-74 win over No.14 seed Yale and advanced to get the 69-67 second round win over No.6 seed Maryland. Then we have Bruce Pearl and the No.5 seed Auburn Tigers who won the SEC Championship to backdoor their way into the NCAA Tourney. The Tigers picked up a tight 78-77 opening round of 64 win over No.12 seed New Mexico State.
So why’ll we await to see how the NCAA Tourney runs down we have to believe this is a very good year for the SEC despite two opening round setbacks. Will there be more great NCAA games? Of course, but when your favorite team isn’t playing it’s not very much fun. This weekend isn’t over, the NCAA Tourney has taken its SEC victims and we know there will be more. Hotty Toddy!