Mississippi South Carolina Basketball

Ole Miss sees their tourney hopes take a hit in a loss at South Carolina

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After starting out the season 17-2 and winning their first six SEC games — including a 15 point win over Missouri — Ole Miss looked like they may actually have the horsepower to make a run at an NCAA tournament birth.

But since Marshall Henderson became an internet sensation thanks to a well-executed GIF stemming from his venture towards the Auburn student section, the Rebels have been a disaster.

They’ve lost five of their last seven games, dropping them to 8-5 in the SEC and 19-7 overall, which isn’t bad but is a long way from good enough to feel comfortable about their NCAA tournament hopes. The first three of those losses were fairly acceptable — Kentucky (when they had Nerlens Noel), at Florida, at Missouri.

Since then, however, Andy Kennedy’s club has lost at Texas A&M, got taken to overtime by Georgia and, on Wednesday night, lost at South Carolina. That’s what will happen when the SEC’s leading scorer shoots 4-17 from the floor.

“This certainly hurts us. We know that. Thank goodness the NCAA tournament is not selected tomorrow. So we’ve got opportunities to try to improve,” Mississippi coach Andy Kennedy said.

That’s great in theory, but where can Ole Miss really improve their resume? Against Auburn or Mississippi State, who are both outside the top 200 in the RPI? LSU is outside the top 100. Alabama has struggled so much that they are 58th in the RPI despite having a 10-3 record in the SEC. Texas A&M is 72nd. And, given that Ole Miss just lost at A&M and just lost at South Carolina (which, coincidentally, is the reason the Gamecocks are no longer outside the top 200), there’s no guarantee that Kennedy can lead this group to a 5-0 finish in league play.

Ole Miss is in major trouble if they can’t turn this thing around, and frustrations are understandably starting to boil over.

Can Kennedy find a way to get to his first NCAA tournament as a head coach, or is he destined for his seventh NIT in eight season?

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

SMU won’t appeal tournament ban, Brown suspension

Associated Press
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Last month the NCAA announced that due to rules violations found in their investigation of the SMU men’s basketball program, the team would be banned from postseason play in 2015-16 and head coach Larry Brown would be suspended for the first nine games of the 2015-16 season. With a team led by seniors Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy and just one player (Keith Frazier) being the subject of the investigation, it was assumed that SMU would at the very least appeal the postseason ban.

Friday, the school announced that while it will appeal some of the penalties handed down by the NCAA to the men’s basketball and men’s golf programs they will not appeal the postseason ban or Brown’s suspension.

“After careful consideration, however, we will not appeal the NCAA post-season ban on men’s basketball or partial season suspension of Head Men’s Basketball Coach Larry Brown,” SMU president R. Gerald Turner stated in the release. “Although we regret the severe impact on our student-athletes, the simple fact is that the NCAA penalty structure mandates at minimum a one-year post-season ban for the level of misconduct that occurred, in our case, when a former staff member completed an online high school course for a prospective student-athlete, committing academic misconduct.

“In addition, should we appeal this matter, the lengthy process and uncertainty during this period could harm many aspects of the program. Coach Brown and his staff also agree that it is in the best interests of the program to accept these sanctions and move forward.”

Among the penalties the school will appeal (with regards to the basketball program) are the “duration of scholarship losses” and how long the recruiting restrictions placed on the program will last, and the vacating of games Frazier played in during the 2013-14 season.

This a tough turn of events for players who had nothing to do with the violations, as they see their opportunity to return to the NCAA tournament taken away. As a result of the school’s decision, SMU’s season will end March 9 following their regular season finale against Cincinnati.

Kevin Marfo commits to George Washington

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Kevin Marfo committed to George Washington on Friday evening, announcing his decision on Twitter.

“I am grateful and appreciative to all the schools that recruited me. But I will be spending the next four years at George Washington University,” he tweeted.

This caps a successful week for Mike Lonergan on the recruiting trail. On Tuesday, GW landed a commitment from Darnell Rogers, a 5-foot-3 point guard. He is the son of former GW guard Shawnta Rogers, the 1999 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. GW ends the week by adding a tenacious rebounder to a front court that graduates top rebounder Kevin Larsen after this season. Rogers and Marfo join power forward Collin Smith in the Class of 2016. Seton Hall transfer Jaren Sina will also be eligible in 2016-17.

He cut his list to 10 in August with Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Boston College, UMass, Saint Joseph’s, DePaul, Rhode Island and Providence all making the cut along wit the Colonials. He later trimmed the list to five finalists: BC, Providence, DePaul, GW and Rhode Island.

The Worcester Academy (Mass.) forward played for BABC this summer in the Nike EYBL, averaging 11.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.  The 6-foot-8 Marfo is listed as the No. 148 overall player in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.