Great position but work to do

There have been times when 17 SEC wins was the magic number to host a regional.

There have been times when Ole Miss hosted with 16 regular season conference wins. MSU hosted with 16 wins last year.

The conference tournament comes into play too, but most of the hosting resume is constructed with the SEC regular season. That said, Ole Miss is in very good position, but there’s work to do.

Alabama’s predicted slide from first place in the West did in fact in occur when it was swept by Florida. Suddenly, MSU has risen. A sweep at Auburn has the Bulldogs just a game behind the Rebels, who have 15 SEC wins. It’s in essence a two-game lead for Ole Miss as it relates to MSU since the Rebels won the series and will have the tie-breaker if those two teams finish with the same conference record.

MSU may not have enough time to improve its RPI to host, but if it passes Ole Miss in the stands it could make things difficult for the Rebels.

The Rebels really need to finish in the top four in the SEC’s overall regular season standings to give themselves their best hosting chance. That would also give them a bye in the SEC tournament.

Seventeen wins may get the Rebels a top four finish, and a 2-4 record would get them to 17. Once in the Mike Bianco Era — his first season — the Rebels went 17-13 in conference play, 1-2 in the SEC tournament and did not host.

Vanderbilt has surged to 14 SEC wins after back-to-back sweeps against Georgia and Missouri. The Commodores close the regular season at Florida and with South Carolina in Nashville. The Gamecocks currently have 13 SEC wins.

On paper it looks like Ole Miss should be able to handle Georgia at home this weekend, but the Bulldogs are coming off a series win against South Carolina.

While the Rebels are in great position right now there is still work to do, and hosting should not be taken for granted.

From the Mother Ship, today’s column.

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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