By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
Mississippi State enters the final week of SEC basketball hoping to capitalize on its upset win over Ole Miss.
The Rebels, meanwhile, begin the week with questions as to how hard they’ll play.
Ole Miss needed to win its final three regular season games to position itself for a possible NCAA tournament bid, but the Rebels were beaten 73-67 by the struggling Bulldogs, who snapped a 13-game losing streak.
Murphy Holloway says Ole Miss (21-7, 10-6 SEC) needs to keep pushing forward.
Holloway will play his final regular season home game at Tad Smith Coliseum on Tuesday at 8 against Alabama. The Rebels close on the road Saturday afternoon at LSU.
“I’m going to play inspired. I think everybody else is too. I’m going to keep those guys up. We’re going to play hard in the next game and come prepared,” he said.
The Bulldogs (8-13, 3-13) play at South Carolina on Wednesday night at 6 and finish up at home against Auburn on Saturday.
The SEC tournament begins March 13 in Nashville.
If junior college transfer Colin Borchert can duplicate his Ole Miss performance – 21 points, 7-for-10 shooting, seven rebounds – the Bulldogs could grab another win or two this week.
‘I just listened’
“Coach always tells me, ‘Once you hit a couple of 3s, they’re going to be flying out on you, so just out-fake and go to the rim.’ I just listened to the coach. He’s a very smart man, so you might as well use it,” said Borchert, who had nine points and five rebounds when Ole Miss defeated MSU 93-75 in Oxford.
A week after becoming the winningest coach in Ole Miss history Andy Kennedy – with 146 wins at the schools – was answered questions about his job security.
The Rebels will likely receive an NIT berth, but it’s unsure if they will accept. Athletics director Ross Bjork has previously said he would rely heavily on players’ input in making that decision.
Kennedy believes his team has to win the SEC tournament to play in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2002.
“Oh, definitely. That’s what I think,” he said. “Our goal is to try to win out, which would put us into first-round bye territory where you’re trying to win three in three days as opposed to four in four.”