UM

Ole Miss’ Blake Hinson, left, pushes his way past Missouri's Torrence Watson, right. Ole Miss plays in the SEC Tournament Thursday at 6 p.m.

Ole Miss thinks it has done enough to make the NCAA Tournament.

The Rebels can do more to solidify their positioning for the Big Dance with a solid showing in Nashville at the SEC Tournament.

The Rebels, the No. 7 seed, will open play Thursday at 6 p.m. against 10 seed Alabama. The tournament winner gets the league’s automatic NCAA bid, and there will be constant jockeying for position among the other hopeful teams in Nashville.

As resumes go, the Rebels begin the week with an NCAA NET Ranking of 34. Ole Miss (20-11, 10-8 SEC) has four Quadrant 1 wins, the fifth-most in the SEC.

A Quadrant 1 win is defined as a win against a team with a NET ranking between 1-30 at home, 1-50 on a neutral floor or 1-75 away.

Quadrant 1 wins for Ole Miss came at home against Auburn, at Auburn and Mississippi State and, earlier in the season, against Baylor on a neutral floor.

After Alabama, Ole Miss' path to the SEC Championship gets about as hard as possible. A win over the Tide would match Ole Miss up against Kentucky, a team that'll be battling for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. And if Ole Miss gets past Kentucky, it's likely that the Rebels would have to face Tennessee or rival Mississippi State, both of whom are proven tough matchups for Ole Miss.

Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis believes there’s something to be said for the “eye test,” and that coming close in the right games can still impact the resume.

“I think when you play Kentucky and Tennessee there is. I don’t think there’s any question about that. With national TV people watch games, and they see it. Then you say, ‘Can that team go win NCAA tournament games, and you say, yeah they can.’ I do think it has some value.”

Short of making an incredible run in Nashville, the Rebels will have to wait until Sunday to see if they indeed are in.

nContact Bill Burrus at 581-7237 or bburrus@gwcommonwealth.com.

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