Here we go. The last week of the regular season is among us, and many Ole Miss fans are biting their fingernails. With back-to-back losses to Georgia and LSU, the Rebels (19-10, 10-6 SEC) now find themselves sixth in the SEC with a lot of work and help is needed to gain a top four seed in the SEC Tournament.
The Rebels need to win against Alabama and Vanderbilt and losses from other teams.
Kentucky should be able to handle Georgia while Texas A&M could have a hard time against Florida, and it will take a miracle for LSU to defeat Arkansas in Bud Walton Arena, where the Razorbacks have lost just once all season. This puts Ole Miss in a good position this week to win out and move into the top four.
In order to gain a double-bye in the SEC Tournament, they will have to defeat a hungry Alabama (17-12, 7-9 SEC) team in Tuscaloosa tonight. Alabama head coach Anthony Grant’s seat has never been hotter, and you know his players will fight as hard as they can to save his job. Alabama could potentially finish .500 in conference play with wins over Ole Miss and Texas A&M this week, which could put them right back on the bubble come SEC Tournament time.
Ole Miss must be up for the huge challenge, as it won’t be easy to win in Coleman Coliseum where they haven’t won since 2010. ESPN “Bracketologist” Joe Lunardi currently ranks the Rebels as a nine seed in the NCAA Tournament, which is down two spots from last week when Lunardi ranked Ole Miss as a seven seed. Ole Miss desperately needs this win and must take better care of the ball after turning the basketball over 28 times in the last two games.
Ole Miss Impact Player – Sebastian Saiz
Sophomore forward Sebastian Saiz kept Ole Miss competitive in their last two losses, combining for 23 points, 18 rebounds and three blocks. If Saiz can continue to play consistently well down low, then Ole Miss shouldn’t have a problem against Alabama. It is vital for Ole Miss to have a third double-digit scorer, and Saiz is more than capable of providing that on a game-to-game basis. With his recently improved offense, look for the Tide to double-team Saiz on the block, which could lead to open shots from Stefan Moody and Jarvis Summers.
Alabama Impact Player – Levi Randolph
One guy who’s played for Anthony Grant his entire college career is senior guard Levi Randolph. You know that Randolph will do everything in his power to not lose at home on senior night in a game that could be the final home game coached by Anthony Grant. Randolph leads the Crimson Tide in scoring at 14.8 points per game on 48 percent shooting. The 6-foot-5 guard can stack the stat sheet in a lot of ways, and Ole Miss better be ready for Randolph to spoil the Rebels’ chances of gaining a high seed in the SEC Tournament.
When: 6 p.m.
Where: Coleman Coliseum
TV: SEC Network