Rebels must win big in the SEC

There are 15 games left in what is now an 18-game SEC basketball season.

Along the way you will hear coaches and players talk about “the grind,” and the level of competition playing twice a week with no break.

The number don’t paint the picture of an elite basketball conference, and when Selection Sunday comes it’s the numbers that will play the biggest part in determining who moves on to the big tournament.

Ole Miss players will talk about the grind, but they understand this fact of life. That’s why winning as many games as they can in the SEC is so important. Some who follow the game have expressed an opinion that Ole Miss needs to go 13-5 to feel good about it’s chances of an NCAA at-large bid.

Here’s Marshall Henderson after the Vanderbilt game: “We know if we’d have dropped this one we’d probably have to win the SEC tournament to get in. We know how that probably is, the way the SEC’s going this year. We just can’t drop any of these games.”

The SEC has three teams – Mississippi State, Georgia and South Carolina – who sub-200 RPIs. Until recently there was a fourth, but Auburn has won three straight to move its RPI to 186.

Vanderbilt had a 160 RPI going into last night’s game.

Ole Miss, with the win, saw its RPI move from 47 to 45.

Fact of the matter is the numbers aren’t great for a lot of SEC teams, but those teams will improve and will win games against teams who are ill-prepared to face them as Florida State can verify about Auburn. FSU is 10-6 with a 66 RPI, resume that would look different without a loss to Auburn.

It says a lot about a team that can win without it’s “A game” as Ole Miss did at Vanderbilt.

It’s better to bring that A game every night just to make sure.

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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