Notes and thoughts after the Rebels’ 60-58 loss to South Carolina …
Having seen replays of both of the last fouls called in the game I’d say both were good calls and were consistent with the way the game was called.
Chances are Tyrone Johnson doesn’t hit the desperation heave if LaDarius White doesn’t foul him, but you never know.
Chances were much better that Johnson, an 83.7 percent free throw shooter, would hit at least two of three to win the game. He hit all three.
Whether White ends up being remembered for the foul that kept the Rebels out of the NCAA tournament remains to be seen.
The bracket chatter immediately after the game still had Ole Miss in the field. That may mean Dayton, but ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, posting to his blog minutes after the game, had Ole Miss among his last four in. CBS’ Jerry Palm chimed in after that and also had the Rebels among his last four in.
That’s as of right now, of course, and how the Rebels stand Sunday at 5 when bid are announced depends in large part on what else happens around the country.
It’s out of the Rebels’ hands right now.
The question is does this team really want to play in the NCAA tournament? It doesn’t look like it.
The answer, of course, is yes. Every team with a fraction of a chance wants to land in the tournament, but Ole Miss doesn’t look like an NCAA team right now.
Whether the Rebels get there or not – fortunately for them – is determined by a season-long body of work. For much of this season Ole Miss looked like a team that could be dangerous in March Madness.
That’s not how it looks now.
Right now every offensive possession is painful to watch.
The shooting struggles of Jarvis Summers have been well-documented. Even though he hit a four-point play last night that looked like it would give Ole Miss a win it didn’t really deserve he was still just 3-for-10 from the floor and had six of the Rebels’ 21 turnovers.
Before Summers’ big shot he and Moody were a combined 5-for-24 from the floor.
Moody was 14-for-23 from 3-point range in wins over Mississippi State and Tennessee en route to SEC player of the week honors. In the five games since then he’s 7-for-38 from 3 (18.4 percent) and Ole Miss is 1-4.
South Carolina, like several teams have done of late, used a bigger guy to chase and harass the 5-foot-10 Moody. He says that didn’t bother him, but he never found a rhythm. He rushed shots, and that carried over to his mid-range game too. Usually he has that going for him when he’s not hitting from the perimeter, but South Carolina did not let him get loose in the lane.
Moody is a known commodity now. He’s at the top of teams’ scouting reports, and it looks like the pressure is affecting him.
With so much on the line for Ole Miss the Rebels simply didn’t play well on offense. It’s a common theme, as Andy Kennedy noted in his postgame.
They held South Carolina to 30.4 percent shooting, but in a game in which the Rebels’ trailed for 35:55 they had four straight chances to take the lead in the second half.
Finally they did on two White free throws with 6:04 left, but even then they couldn’t gain separation against a team that was also struggling on offense.
The bottom line is this team may make the NCAA tournament. Every player and every coach of a struggling team is in constant search of the next opportunity to turn things around. Maybe that comes in the big tournament, but right now Ole Miss isn’t playing like a team that will last past the first game if it gets there.