It hasn’t been easy for the Ole Miss Rebels, but they probably can clinch a spot in the NCAA Tournament if they can just avoid a terrible defeat on the college basketball lines at the hands of the Vanderbilt Commodores on Saturday in the SEC Tournament.
The Commodores have literally been bubble busters here in the SEC Tournament. Not only did they end the season of the Arkansas Razorbacks a bit prematurely, but they probably knocked the Kentucky Wildcats into the NIT as well. It’s not like the game against the defending National Champions was really ever all that close either. Vandy led by double digits for the entire second half and won by 16 as 5.5-point underdogs. If you look back at what the Commodores have done of late though, perhaps the good run shouldn’t be all that surprising. The only losses in the last nine games have come against the Wildcats on the road by four points and against the Florida Gators in Gainesville by 26, hardly a damning defeat. A win in this one, and the NIT could all of a sudden be calling Vandy’s name, and that would be a huge accomplishment for a team that statistically speaking, should be in the dumps, averaging just 60.6 points per game.
Of all the people that could have saved the season for the Rebels, the name G Derrick Millinghaus probably wouldn’t be the first that sprung to mind. Alas, Millinghaus hit the shot that changed the season for the Rebs, as they probably went from outside of the NCAA Tournament to on the right side of the bubble with two days to go with his game winning jumper with just one second left in the quarterfinals against the Missouri Tigers. Is the job done, though? That’s the big question. It might take a win in this game to get the Rebels into the field safely for sure, as a loss in this game would be another eyesore on a resume that truly doesn’t look anywhere near complete in spite of the 23 wins. G Marshall Henderson and F Murphy Holloway continue to be the men that have to carry this team to victory. Henderson is averaging 19.7 points per game, and he is one of the best pure scorers in the SEC. Holloway is averaging 14.6 points per game and is a beast in the paint, bringing down 9.6boards per game as well.
Here’s a game where the oddsmakers are going to make you think too hard. Vandy is only going to be getting a few points in this game, and we think that it should be getting at least five or six. All of the effort that was put into that game against Kentucky is going to leave Vanderbilt gasping in this one. The Commodores aren’t going to shoot 50.0 percent from the field in this one, and they’re not facing a team that is going to just flat out give up like Kentucky did when the game started to get out of hand. The Rebels are on their way to the dance after pummeling Vandy. Ole Miss 72 – Vanderbilt 60
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.