The national seed question came early for Mike Bianco and dominated the first few minutes of his time on the SEC teleconference.
The thinking is Ole Miss can strengthen it’s argument for a top eight seed – which would guarantee the Rebels home games all the way in their quest to reach Omaha – by a strong SEC tournament showing.
“We’ve had a terrific year, and our resume for all those things is very strong, but you want to continue to play well, to continue to have momentum.
“When you look at this week there are more games against more great teams. We have an opportunity to increase our resume and be playing well when we got to postseason.”
It’s all about controlling what you can control, Bianco said.
“It’s up to 10 people in Indianapolis. It’s not up to coaches, not up to you guys. The only thing you can do is to play well and hope for the best, but for 56 games it’s hard to expect somebody to play much better than we’ve played.”
In the latest release of the NCAA’s official RPI, Vanderbilt is 6, South Carolina 8 and Ole Miss is 13. The Rebels finished a game ahead of South Carolina, two games ahead of Vanderbilt in the SEC regular season.
It will benefit Ole Miss if the committee looks more favorably on the regular season. Ole Miss finished a game up on South Carolina, two games on Vanderbilt.
South Carolina coach Chad Holbrook on pursuit of national seed: “We’re going down to Hoover to try to win, not thinking anything about a national seed. We’re not going to give that any thought. We’re going to try to win the SEC tournament. That’s 100 percent of our focus. Our team has done everything it could possibly do under the circumstances to put ourselves in position to be a national seed. I think we’re deserving. We have an RPI in the top 8. I certainly think we’ve positioned ourselves very well.”
Mississippi State coach John Cohen was asked about how his team would get past being so close to the No. 3 seed and an SEC tournament bye only to fall to No. 5 and have to play an elimination game against Georgia.
Cohen incorporated Ole Miss into his response. “Alabama swept Ole Miss and what a great job Ole Miss did from recovering that and moving forward.”
LSU coach Paul Mainieri said he was pleased the Tigers’ sweep at Auburn allowed them to climb into the top four to get an SEC tournament bye.
Mainieri: “Our goal was to win the SEC West, but Ole Miss did that. Congratulations to them, they deserved it and earned it.”