By Parrish Alford
OXFORD – Ole Miss will try to bounce back from its first loss of the season with a rare homecourt matchup against a Pac-12 opponent today.
No. 13 Oregon (7-0) visits Tad Smith Coliseum for a 4 p.m., tip in a game televised by ESPNU.
The Rebels (6-1) played from behind in most of Thursday’s 61-58 loss to Kansas State only to earn a late lead then have it slip away.
In the world of college basketball where NCAA tournament at-large bids are determined largely by RPI today is the first of two big non-conference home opportunities for Ole Miss.
Ratings Percentage Index is a formula that assigns a value from a team’s wins and losses combined with wins and losses and schedule strength from its opponents. Other factors weigh into RPI as well.
“People want to talk RPI. It’s just so premature right now. There’s just not enough information for those numbers to be relevant.,” Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said. “We do have two wins against two of the power leagues in the country.”
Those wins came after Thanksgiving against ACC member Georgia Tech and Big 10 member Penn State in Brooklyn. Neutral site wins boost RPI more than home wins.
Had the Rebels beaten Kansas State, of the Big 12, would have given Ole Miss wins over teams from those three conferences in one season for the first time.
According to RealTImeRPI.com, Oregon arrives with an RPI of 30 against a schedule currently rated No. 154.
It’s been a week since Oregon has played. The Ducks picked up an 82-75 home win against Georgetown in their opener.
Joseph Young, a 6-foot-2 senior guard, leads Oregon with 20.3 points a game. A transfer from Houston, he’s shooting 42.4 percent from 3-point range.
Ole Miss guard Marshall Henderson was shooting 40 percent behind the arc before shooting just 2-for-13 at Kansas State.
The Rebels currently have an RPI of 56 and a schedule strength rating of 183.
They will also host Dayton, of the Atlantic 10, on Jan. 4, five days before the start of SEC play.
Dayton currently has an RPI of 25 against the No. 42 schedule.
“Georgia Tech is going to play 18 games in the ACC, probably 90 percent of them in the top 100 RPI,” Kennedy said. “Every time they win it helps you because you beat them – not only beat them but beat them on a neutral site, which in the formula gives you more credit. The same with Penn State. They have an opportunity to make those wins very significant for us because of the leagues they play in.”