Ole Miss Takes Care of Business with 76-59 win over South Carolina in SEC Tourney
Going into the SEC Tournament, Ole Miss was firmly on the bubble, needing a couple of wins to solidify the team’s NCAA resume. The Rebels took care of business vs. South Carolina on Thursday night.
After finishing the regular season with a 15-10 record (9-8 SEC), the Rebels were firmly on the NCAA Tournament bubble. As of Wednesday night, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi had Ole Miss as a “Next Four Out” team, needing at least a couple of wins in Nashville, and a handful of other things to fall into place.
On Thursday, many of those other pieces ended up falling into place, giving the Rebels a very real shot at making the tournament, regardless of how they do against LSU Friday. .
What Went Right on Thursday for the Rebels
- Ole Miss needed Syracuse to lose to Virginia – UVA won on a buzzer-beater three ball.
- Ole Miss needed Mississippi State to beat Kentucky – the Bulldogs beat UK for the first time in the Calipari era.
- Ole Miss needed San Diego State to beat Wyoming – the Aztecs got it done.
- Ole Miss needed Nevada to beat Boise State – the Wolfpack won 89-82.
- Ole Miss needed Florida State to beat Duke – Duke had to forfeit after a positive COVID-19 test.
- Ole Miss needs Fresno State to beat Colorado State – as of writing this article, this game isn’t over…
Syracuse was the team in Lunardi’s bracket. Mississippi State’s win moves their NET ranking up, giving the Rebels another Quad 1 win. Boise State was the second team in Lunardi’s “Last Four In” and Duke was the second team in Lunardi’s “Next Four Out.”
Those results, combined with Ole Miss’ dominant 76-59 win over South Carolina, have given the tournament talk some real life. Here’s the late-Thursday night scenario from Joe Lunardi:
Prior attachment was the wrong one…this is correct. pic.twitter.com/RX7lLOCZm2
— Joe Lunardi (@ESPNLunardi) March 12, 2021
A Dominant Win
The Rebels showed out on Friday evening behind a fantastic offensive night from Ole Miss’ leaders. Jarkel Joiner scored 18 points on a 5-12 shooting night. He went 6-6 from the free-throw line and knocked down two 3-pointers as well.
Romello White added 17 points of his own. First Team All-SEC guard Devontae Shuler tallied 15 points and 5 assists.
Ole Miss dominated the defensive glass behind a combined 23 rebounds from White, KJ Buffen, and Luis Rodriguez. The Rebels grabbed 41 on the night, compared to South Carolina’s 32.
Ole Miss had the offense going on Thursday, shooting 48.3% from the field, compared to the Gamecocks’ 35.6%.
South Carolina held tough though, keeping it close in the first half. However, with about five minutes to go in the half, the Rebels used a 10-0 run to extend their lead to 37-24.
Kermit Davis’ team took a 15-point lead into the half and never looked back, leading by at least 9 for the remainder of the game. Going forward, Ole Miss’ postseason fate is in its own hands. As stated, many of the key pieces fell into place today, giving the Rebels a very real shot at March Madness. However, a win over LSU Friday night would certainly solidify that resume, giving the Rebels another Quad 1 win.
That game will be a show, as either the Tigers or Rebels will break. Ole Miss led the conference in scoring defense in SEC play this season (65.4 PPG), while LSU averaged 82.7 PPG with the SEC’s leading scorer in Cameron Thomas.
Romello on playing LSU: We're a completely different team & we're ready this time. We have to come out strong. We have to be poised. They like to get in your heads. We have to stay together. We're definitely a more-connected team & are playing better offensively and defensively.
— The Rebel Walk (@TheRebelWalk) March 12, 2021
There is some real life to the Rebels’ NCAA Tournament hopes; now they just need to take care of business tomorrow night vs the Tigers.
Here’s what Jarkel Joiner, Romello White and Coach Davis had to say about the win and the upcoming game against LSU.
(Video courtesy of Ole Miss Athletics)