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.

Florida Gulf Coast’s Demetris Morant out 3-4 months

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Florida Gulf Coast redshirt junior forward Demetris Morant is expected to miss the next 3-4 months after undergoing surgery last week to repair a stress fracture in his right shin, the school announced on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 4.5 points, 4.4 blocks and 1.3 blocks per game in 33 appearances (18 starts) for the Eagles during the 2014-15 season.

“This is obviously an unfortunate setback for Demetris, but it was a procedure that needed to be done,” Florida Gulf Coast head coach Dooley said in a statement. “We decided it would be best to have it completed now to hopefully get him back for A-Sun play. It’s an opportunity now for other guys to step up in his absence, and I have confidence they’ll get the job done.”

The Eagles have the top frontline in the Atlantic Sun, one that returns Marc-Eddy Norelia and Filip Cvjeticanin, a 3-point shooter who missed all of last season recovering from back surgery. VCU transfer Antravious Simmons becomes eligible in the second semester.

Florida Gulf Coast begins the 2015-16 season on Nov. 14 against Ohio.

Bill Self on Cheick Diallo: ‘It may be a couple of more weeks’

2015 McDonald's All American Game
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Cheick Diallo is currently practicing with Kansas, but his eligibility still remains in question.

On Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on “The Border Patrol” on WHB-AM 810 and was asked to update the status of his freshman big man.

“He’s been cleared to practice,” Self told hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. “(His status) is depending on what they find throughout from the information we submit to them whenever we get it all together.

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, why wouldn’t it all be together?’ Well there’s a lot of reasons why. It’s because they told us recently some things that they just wanted. Instead of just throwing it to them piece by piece, they requested we to just submit it all together, so it may be a couple of more weeks before we’re able to submit everything when you’re talking about getting information from schools in Mali and everything like that.

“But we hope in two weeks, maybe three weeks, before we have a definite answer. But right now, Cheick is like everybody else. He’s practicing.”

Diallo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali is allowed to practice with the Jayhawks, but has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite enrolling in classes over the summer and earning six credits. Self anticipated this would be a long process, but has remained confident Diallo, the top-5 recruit in Class of 2015, will eventually be cleared to play this season.

For three years, Diallo attended Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York, which is currently under NCAA review. In September, Pitt freshman Damon Wilson, Diallo’s teammate at OSNA, was cleared to play.

Kansas opens the season on Nov. 13 against Northern Colorado.