What do the Rebels have to do to get there?
It’s all about 9-7 for the Rebels, and if they really want to remove all doubt, 10-6. If Ole Miss can get to 9-7 it should have a mid 30s RPI and would have an overall record of 21-9. That should be enough to get in. The Rebels have a 36 RPI right now.
Working against the Rebels will be the perception of SEC basketball. Real or imagined it doesn’t matter, perception is reality for a lot of people. The SEC is fourth among conferences in RPI right now, but there may be a temptation to punish the conference by reducing its number of bids. IF that’s the case, winning the Western Division means nothing. I could see Eastern Division bids for Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Florida. Just four SEC teams getting in is not unprecedented.
So 21-9, 9-7 would build a strong case for Ole Miss without having to make a deep run or win a game at the SEC tournament in Nashville. A 10-6 mark would leave the Rebels 22-8 and would remove all doubt.
In either case, the Rebels have a good bit of work to do. They’ve got to win four games to get to 9-7, they’ve got home games against Auburn and LSU coming up. LSU is struggling. Auburn won’t be a gimme, but both of those games are games the Rebels should win.
Then they’ve got Florida and Vanderbilt at home, both would be good RPI wins for Ole Miss and having those in the left hand column would go a long way during at-large bid discussions.
So, playing so poorly and losing the rescheduled home game against Arkansas hurts, but it can be overcome, particularly if the Rebels who played the second half against Alabama show up for the remainder of the season and if Buckner not only returns but returns to the level of production he was showing at the time of his injury.