Players would have big say in an NIT bid

There’s a lot of basketball left on the table, and Ole Miss could very well play its way into the NCAA tournament.

As Andy Kennedy says, the Rebels have shown themselves capable.

They haven’t played to that capability at times in the last couple of weeks, and a team that once seemed destined to the NCAA tournament seems a little less certain after losing four of its last five in the conference.

Falling short of the NCAA goal – The Rebels haven’t played in the big tournament since 2002 – would lead to the NIT question.

Ole Miss has played in the NIT five times in the last six years. Would the Rebels play in the NIT again? The players would have a lot to say in that decision, Ole Miss athletics director Ross Bjork said.

“We would do what’s best for the players first. We’d talk to them first about extending the season if they want to play in postseason. Our seniors, they want to play in postseason, and they want to go out the best they can, so I think it’s something that we would really sit down and talk to our players about,” Bjork said.

There’s a favorable schedule ahead, but even in a weakened SEC there are teams that can beat the Rebels if they can’t do better with defense and rebounding.

More from Bjork: “The NIT is now run by the NCAA. I think they’re doing a great job with that tournament. It’s not where we want to be. Ultimately we want to be in the NCAA tournament so we’re striving toward that with seven games on the horizon, and our hope is that we finish strong, we get out of this little dip we’re in right now and see where postseason lands us. Giving our players a chance to play is what we’re all about, and we hope it’s the NCAA tournament. That’s the No. 1 goal.”

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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  • Doug

    Wow, another underwhelming season from coach Kennedy. Stop me if you’ve heard this before – Ole Miss comes into the season with high hopes, starts off well, and then efs it up.

    • UMBBFan

      We have never really stared off well in SEC play under Kennedy. This is the first year for that. Ole Miss, along with every other good team in the country must suffer though some lulls in February. I still think we have a favorable track to the NCAA tourney. We are in third place in the conference and will probably finish in third place. That should get us in. Another day of hope is this team did finish stronger than usual last year.
      However, all Rebel basketball fans must be worried by Kennedy’s recurrent coaching blunders. How does he leave MH in with 3 fouls during the last 10 seconds when all we are trying to do is foul? With 4 fouls? Come on man!! MH is in his home state and he gets how many shots in the second half? A&M has one guy that is beating us and Kennedy defends him with a person 3 inches shorter and 4 inch less wingspan? MH gave it his best effort, he was just physically over matched.
      Fortunately the schedule favors us from here on out. We should be able to win enough to make the tourney. But get in or not, this must be Kennedy’s last year at Ole Miss.

  • Does this mean that the Rebels are giving up and surrendering for this season? JB

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