Rebels first taste of the big dance in eleven years
By: Adam Brown, Sports Editor of Hottytoddy.com
The Ole Miss basketball team steps into the thick of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, as they take on the Wisconsin Badgers at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.
Ole Miss (26-8, 12-6 SEC) locked up a spot in the NCAA Tournament by defeating the Florida Gators 66-63 on Sunday, in Nashville at the 2013 SEC Tournament.
The Rebels manufactured points in the tournament from everyone who step out onto the floor. Junior Marshall Henderson carried his impressive shooting performance into Nashville, where he was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player and to the All-Tournament team along with teammates Murphy Holloway and Reginald Buckner. Henderson’s play throughout the regular season led to him being named the SEC Newcomer of the Year.
Wisconsin (23-11,12-6 Big Ten) comes into the NCAA Tournament after losing to Ohio State 50-43 in the Championship game of the Big Ten Tournament. The Badgers are led in scoring by junior Ben Brust, who is averaging 11.2 points per game, with teammate senior Jared Berggren right behind him with 11.1.
Coach Bo Ryan’s squad is averaging 66.2 points per game, which ranks them 206th in the country in scoring. While SEC Coach Of The Year Andy Kennedy’s team is seventh in the nation in scoring 78.2 points per game.
Ole Miss owns a 6-8 all-time record against current members of the Big Ten Conference, riding high after back-back wins over Penn State in 2010 and 11.
The Rebels have only faced a member of the Big Ten Conference in the NCAA Tournament once before now. That was back in 1999, where Ole Miss was matched up against the Spartans of Michigan State in the tournament and fell by a heartbreaking score of 74-66.
Friday marks the first ever meeting between the Rebels and the Badgers on the hardwood. Although Wisconsin has faced two of Ole Miss foe’s this season in the Arkansas Razorbacks and the Florida Gators. The Badgers defeated the Razorbacks 77-70 at the Las Vegas Invitational and fell to Florida 74-56 on the road.
Fans can catch all the action as the Rebels try to make a run in the NCAA Tournament on Friday, starting with their game against the Wisconsin Badgers at 11:40 a.m. on TruTV.