Ole Miss, its 25 wins and mercurial guard Marshall Henderson can’t be left out of Big Dance

Kyle Ringo
The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Ole Miss features the most polarizing figure in college basketball in Marshall Henderson and when the Rebels are on their game, they can compete with almost any opponent.

Should be fun to watch them in the NCAA tournament

Ole Miss has forced its way into the Big Dance regardless of what happens in the Southeastern Conference championship against Florida on Sunday. At least that is the conventional wisdom after the Rebels handled Vanderbilt in the semifinals to earn its 25th victory of the season.

If the Rebels were somehow passed over by the selection committee Sunday, it would be an historic decision. Twenty-five win teams from the top six power conferences don't get passed over. Sure, the SEC is pretty mediocre this season, but it's still tough to pass on a team with 25 wins playing the majority of its games against major conference competition.

The Rebels didn't really play anyone of note in the nonconference schedule and went into the SEC portion or the schedule with a loss to Middle Tennessee State as the most significant development in the first two months of its season.

At times during the regular season, the Rebels hopes of an NCAA tournament appearance seemed very questionable. That was pretty much the case right up to the start of the conference tournament this week.

But after beating Missouri again on Friday and handling No. 10 seed Vanderbilt, Ole Miss has done enough. Plus, admit it. You really want to see how the intensity of the NCAA tournament affects a guy with no emotional filter such as Marshall Henderson, don't you?

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