A few observations about last night …
I suspect the Rebels secured an NIT berth with their 63-62 loss at struggling South Carolina, which had won just twice in a weakened SEC and had lost six straight going into the game with an RPI of 211.
There has been a lot of speculation about an NCAA bid for Ole Miss should the Rebels finish 13-5 in the SEC. They can still reach that mark by winning their five remaining regular season games, but this is a bad loss that might be too much for the resume to overcome.
I don’t see this team winning its final five games anyway given the current state of affairs. It has tended to rely on Marshall Henderson, and Henderson hasn’t been an efficient 3-point shooter since hitting 13-for-25 combined in the Florida and MSU games. He was 3-for-11 from the arc in Columbia and finished with 11 points.
Neither Henderson nor any of his teammates could hit a clutch shot after Reggie Buckner fouled out with a little less than 4 minutes to play. Buckner wasn’t hitting them either, but the Rebels led 62-56 at that time and were outscored 7-0 the rest of the way.
In a game in which neither team established firm control, Ole Miss ran out to a 62-56 lead as the minutes clicked away by getting hands in the passing lanes and scoring in transition. When Carolina was more careful with the basketball those opportunities stopped, and Ole Miss struggled to score in a halfcourt set.
Murphy Holloway had 19 points and 13 rebounds, his first double-double since the Arkansas game on Jan. 19, but it was too little for Ole Miss.
The Rebels, 19-7 overall and 8-5 in the SEC after a 6-0 conference start, play Saturday at 4 at home against Auburn.