Special to the Journal
Ole Miss has won two games in a row, but head coach Andy Kennedy knows the Rebels have plenty of work to do to realistically get into the NCAA Tournament conversation.
“We’re not in the conversation,” he said Saturday following an 85-76 Ole Miss win over Missouri.
The Rebels are 18-10 overall and 8-7 in SEC games. They currently rank No. 85 in the latest Ratings Percentage Index released by the NCAA, and they hold a 3-8 record against the RPI top-100.
Next up is Georgia (14-12, 7-8 SEC) in Athens. The Bulldogs stand as the lone top-100 RPI opportunity left of the Rebels’ three remaining regular-season games
Tipoff is at 11 a.m. today on the SEC Network.
“We’re trying to put ourselves in a position where when we get to the SEC tournament, we’ve got opportunities to play teams that are going to help us,” Kennedy said. “That’s our chance, and dependent upon what we do in the last three, will determine if we have to win it or do we have to at least get to the finals. That’s just reality.”
Ole Miss would claim the No. 7 seed in the SEC Tournament if it started today, which would line the Rebels up to potentially face South Carolina following a second-round game against No. 10 seed Arkansas. South Carolina – No. 32 in the RPI – is the type of quality opponent the Rebels’ postseason resume lacks.
“Everything is in our control,” said senior guard Stefan Moody, who leads the SEC in scoring (23.0 ppg). Moody has scored 20-plus points 20 times this season, including 29 against Missouri.
“We’re definitely hungry. We’ve got four seniors with a sense of urgency, and our young guys follow us. If we all just stay hungry, we can make it happen.”