By John L. Pitts | NEMS Daily Journal
Note: This blog was posted before play today in various conference tournaments.
So what should we expect this afternoon at 5, when the NCAA men’s basketball tournament bracket is unveiled?
When we all went to bed last night, it seems as if either Ole Miss or Mississippi State might make the field of 68. Lo and behold, however, by this morning most of the bracket projections seemed to have the Rebels and Bulldogs on the outside.
And so after projecting the SEC to put five teams in the Big Dance for weeks, it looks like the league will get only four – Kentucky, Florida, Vanderbilt and Alabama.
ESPN, with its bracketologist Joe Lunardi, has stubbornly kept MSU in its projected field until today. Now, It looks like the Bulldogs were one of the first couple of teams out.
(It’s also widely expected that Southern Miss will make the field as an at-large team, while Mississippi Valley State will go dancing, briefly, as the SWAC champion.)
It was just a few weeks ago when it seemed possible that the state might have four teams make the field.
But a late flurry of 5 wins in their last 6 games doesn’t appear to have been enough to boost Ole Miss, which wobbled with a 2-6 stretch in February and doesn’t have a real signature victory.
Mississippi State? After beating the Rebels on Feb. 9, the Bulldogs lost five games in a row and fell out of the national conversation. Two losses to lowly Georgia, including one in the first round of the SEC tournament, offsets most of the goodwill generated by MSU’s one genune high-quality victory – a one-point win at Vandy on Jan. 21.
That’s a win that suggested big things for the Bulldogs. Instead, they lost 7 of their last 12 after that.
Follow John L. Pitts on @johnlpitts on Twitter.
Read more about the NCAA Tournament selections today at DJournal.com and in the Monday NEMS Daily Journal Sports Section.