Breaking Down the Ole Miss Bubble Scenario
After Thursday night’s 76-59 win over South Carolina, the Rebels are now in a position to find their way on the right side of the NCAA tournament bubble.
Heading into tonight’s game against LSU, Ole Miss is essentially in a “win-and-in” situation. However, if this season has showed anything, it’s the ups and downs of life on the bubble. If you recall, just a couple of weeks ago the Rebels made their way onto the bubble, but then events conspired and they moved off of it. Now Kermit Davis’ squad is back on it with only a few days until Selection Sunday.
As of this writing and following the win over the Gamecocks, Ole Miss is currently listed at the top of Joe Lunardi’s “First Four Out.” The Rebels currently sit at 16-10 and are 52nd in the NET Rankings.
Ole Miss has a 3-4 record against Quad 1 teams, a 4-4 record against Quad 2, a 4-2 record against Quad 3, and sits at 5-0 against Q4 teams.
As of Thursday night, here’s Joe Lunardi’s “bracketology.”
Prior attachment was the wrong one…this is correct. pic.twitter.com/RX7lLOCZm2
— Joe Lunardi (@ESPNLunardi) March 12, 2021
Pulling for State?
The Rebs’ rating is subject to change pending how the NET changes next. While it may sound crazy, Ole Miss fans actually needed to root for Mississippi State Thursday against Kentucky. The Bulldogs’ victory over the Wildcats adds a Quad 2 win for the State.
Why is this important, you might ask? Well, the Bulldogs have moved up a notch to No. 77 in the NET. If they beat Alabama tonight, they would likely crack the top-75 in the NET. Remember that soul-crushing (at the time) loss we suffered to MSU in late February? If State moves up in the NET, our loss to them could very well shift from a Quad 3 loss to Quad 2. And, that’s not all. An MSU win would likely further boost the Ole Miss resume as a Bulldog rise into the Top 75 NET would turn the Rebels’ win in Starkville into a Quad 1 win.
After that the Ole Miss resume looks like this:
- 16-10 Record
- KenPom 47
- Q1: 3-4
- Q2: 4-4
- Q3: 4-2
- Q4: 5-0
This could further improve the way those involved with Selection Sunday view the Rebels for consideration. According to teamrankings.com the Rebels currently have a 38.3% chance to make the big dance, BUT what happens if they beat LSU? Those odds bump up to 94%.
While Ole Miss still needs to take care of business against LSU, let’s take a look at how other teams “on the bubble” are feeling.
The Mountain West Trio
There has been a huge shake-up to the bubble from just a week ago; however, the Mountain West conference tournament has plenty of games to play and the outcome of these can impact Ole Miss’ chances. On Thursday, Boise St. lost to Nevada, effectively taking them out of the “last four in” and shifting them to the “first four out” in Lunardi’s latest post. That being said, the Broncos have no more games left and are effectively out of contention for a bid.
The second team in the Mountain West to monitor is Utah St. They took care of UNLV and are now in the “last four in.” The third team has the biggest impact here. Colorado State defeated Fresno State last night. The Rams and Utah State will now meet for a winner-in-and-loser-out matchup
The ACC Downfall
Duke is out of both the ACC and NCAA tourneys. It’s unfortunate the manner in which that happened, as a player tested positive for COVID which resulted in the Blue Devils’ withdrawal. Nonetheless, they will now not make it in.
Louisville is still a pretty good bet to get in. They could potentially slide to the last four out. Syracuse may become a battle of the resumes with the Rebels if Ole Miss loses to LSU. If the Rebels happen to lose to the Tigers, they shouldn’t fall too far given LSU’s status as a Quad 1 team. Ole Miss would have a better record that Syracuse against Q1 teams — especially if the State transition happens.
However, the big win for Ole Miss comes at this point. The SEC still has games. The ACC does too, but all the bubble teams in the ACC have lost. Ole Miss can pass them up EITHER by NET changes or by beating LSU.
The Rebels essentially control their own destiny in that sense.
Big East Bid Stealer
Seton Hall’s tourney chances got rocked when they lost to St John’s to end the regular season, right? Not so fast. A run in the Big East Tournament could have Seton Hall stealing an automatic qualifier bid. The Pirates beat St. John in the quarterfinals and now have a date with the No. 9 seed Georgetown in the semifinals. They are in a prime spot to play spoiler.
The other Big East team to watch was Xavier, who lost in the first round in an overtime thriller to Butler. They are currently scrambling around to find a team to play as a last ditch effort to improve their resume.
Atlantic 10 Steal?
Saint Louis lost to St. Bonaventure in the semifinals, and that ruined their chances of making the tourney. Like Xavier, they are trying like crazy to find another opportunity. VCU has a chance to play bid stealer if they beat the Bonnies in the finals.
For Whom are the Rebels rooting?
After all this, what does Ole Miss need to have happen? Here you go:
- Ole Miss win over LSU – take care of business and we don’t have to stress.
- Miss St – Sitting at No. 77 in the NET, a Bulldog win over Alabama would surely do the trick and move them up into Top 75.
- USF – They play Wichita State in the first round of the American tournament. While Wichita St. isn’t on the bubble, a loss to them could severely hurt their tournament chances.
- Houston – WE don’t want to have SMU jump us, and if the Cougars take care of business as they should, Ole Miss will benefit.
So, there you go, Rebels. To simplify everything in this article, let’s just take care of business against LSU Friday night at 8:30 p.m. and go dancing!
(Feature image credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss)
TJ Oxley is a current MBA student at Ole Miss after having earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Toledo. He currently covers college hoops and the NBA Draft for the Basketball Society as well as all things Ole Miss for The Rebel Walk.