Don’t leave it up to the Selection Committee. Go out and earn your bid to the tournament. Save your head coach’s job. The Rebels did just that, coming back from 12 down at the half to knock off Florida, 66-63, in the SEC title game on Saturday afternoon.
And with the win, Ole Miss puts an end to one of the most intriguing story lines heading into Selection Sunday. Ole Miss wasn’t going to change their bubble status with a loss to Florida. They didn’t move themselves past other teams on the cut line with a win over Vanderbilt. After beating Missouri, Ole Miss had essentially handed their profile over to the committee. It was either win and get in, or lose and hope that they had done enough to set themselves apart from the likes of Tennessee, Middle Tennessee State and St. Mary’s.
The Rebels also made things just that much tougher for teams waiting to see if their names will be called during the Selection Show.
Our Dave Ommen had Ole Miss in before today. Others didn’t. There was still hope for some bubblers that something about the Rebels’ profile — those two sub-200 losses, the lack of quality wins, etc. — would turn the committee off enough to get their team a bid.
That hope is gone, meaning that one fewer team near the bubble’s cut-line will be dancing.
Zak Irvin scored 22 points and Michigan’s outmanned front line held Purdue’s redwoods to just seven offensive boards, six second chance points and just 22 points in the paint as the Wolverines landed a critical, 61-56, win over the No. 18 Boilermakers.
Depending on who you listen to, Michigan entered the day, at worst, on the bubble and at best, in headed for the 8-9 game.
And they picked up a top 25 win.
So yes, this win was big for them moving forward.
But more important than the win itself was that Wolverine fans got a glimpse of all-american guard Caris LeVert. He played just 11 points and didn’t return in the second half, he didn’t score and he missed the only shot that he took, but LeVert took the court for the first time since Dec. 30th. That day, LeVert rolled his left ankle and most likely reinjured a foot that had had a broken bone surgically repaired twice in the last 20 months. Michigan never confirmed what the actual injury was and never gave a timetable for when he would be back in the lineup, which is what made his brief appearance so important.
LeVert isn’t done for the season.
And since the Wolverines managed to post a 9-4 Big Ten record with LeVert acting as little more than a spectator, they have a chance to make a run in the Big Ten tournament and get into the NCAA tournament.
That will happen with LeVert in the rotation and, if all goes according to plan, the starting lineup.
So even with a loss against Purdue, the Wolverines had a good day. Bolstering their NCAA tournament profile was an added bonus.
VIDEO: Memphis’ Shaq Goodwin gets technical foul for copying famous Vince Carter dunk
Memphis senior forward Shaq Goodwin picked up one of the dumbest technical fouls of the season on Saturday with the Tigers on the road against Tulane. Goodwin attempted to copy Vince Carter’s famous arm-in-the-rim dunk from the 2000 NBA dunk contest. This would have been okay during pregame warmups, but Goodwin tried to pull this off on a breakaway near the end of the first half. He was quickly hit with the T for hanging on the rim.
Goodwin has good timing when it comes to current events, as the NBA’s dunk contest airs on Saturday night, but the timing of pulling this off in the first half of a tight conference game is not so great.
For past reference, here’s Carter’s original arm-in-the-rim dunk from 2000, which had everyone astonished since it had never been done before.