Thanks to Saturday’s rally that ultimately led to an 84-74 win over Georgia in overtime, the Ole Miss Rebels, like a handful of Southeastern Conference teams, are still in the discussion of making the NCAA Tournament next month.Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy gave his thoughts on the tournament and where he thought the Rebels stood heading into the final stretch of the season that includes six more games during the regular season and at least one in the SEC Tournament in Nashville, Tenn.
“Everybody is talking about March Madness and bubble and who’s in and who’s out. The thing that people have to realize, and it’s difficult because everybody gets focused in on whatever team they’re covering or whatever team they’re pulling for, but there are only probably a handful of teams to where if they didn’t win another game would get into the tournament,” Kennedy said. “Florida is probably one of those but there are only a handful of those. Everybody else that has a shot still has to win basketball games. Not only do you have to control what you can control, which is where our focus is, but there are a lot of other things that are going on all over the country that you have no control over. Just speaking from personal experience, our focus is just trying to win games. We have seven opportunities left and what we do with those seven opportunities will determine what happens next and that could be said for a number of teams throughout the course of the country. Everybody is in that grind mode where you’re trying to grind out wins.”
Kennedy was then asked if he thought the SEC was strong, behind first-place Florida, starting at the No. 2 position and going all the way through No. 14.
“I think everybody is in flux a bit. Florida has been the one constant, from the beginning until now, they have been the best team in the league and they have played as such,” Kennedy said. “Everybody goes through transitions. Tennessee did not start out great and they’re playing great basketball now. Kentucky, unfortunately, with the loss of Nerlens Noel, who is a tremendous player as we all know, now kind of have to re-invent themselves down the stretch. Ourselves, with injuries and the things that happen, you just try to deal with it the best you can and you understand that you’re in a five-month season and there is going to be highs and there are going to be lows and at the end of the day, you hope the numbers make sense.”
Ole Miss (19-6 overall, 8-4 SEC) returns to action Wednesday at South Carolina (12-13, 2-10) in a game that can be seen on CSS at 6 p.m. (February 18, 2013)