By Myra Bean
In postgame comments Thursday night, Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said he was being “realistic” in saying Ole Miss would not receive a NCAA bid. He was correct. The Ole Miss Rebels were overlooked in the field of 65 teams to start on the road to the final four despite posting a 21-10 record. The Rebels lost to Georgia 97-95 in overtime.
The Rebels did receive a bid to play in the National Invitational Tournament (NIT). Second-seeded Ole Miss (21-10) will face No. 7 seed UC Santa Barbara (23-8) in the opening round Wednesday at 7 p.m. CT at Tad Smith Coliseum, according to a news release sent from Ole Miss Sunday night.
A victory Wednesday would advance the Rebels to a second-round meeting with the winner between No. 3 seed Nebraska and No. 6 Charlotte, which would take place in Oxford on either March 21, 22 or 24. The quarterfinals are scheduled for March 25, 26 or 27. The host school for each round is based on the higher seed. The NIT Final Four is April 1 and 3 at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Tickets for adults will be $15, while tickets for Ole Miss, high school and younger students are $4. Fans may purchase tickets through the school’s official web site, www.OleMissSports.com, or through the Ole Miss Ticket Office at 662-915-7167 during normal business hours.
There will be general parking with no charge.
Georgia went on to win the SEC Tournament with a 66-57 win over Arkansas Sunday afternoon.
Mississippi State and Mississippi Valley State received their invitations to play in the NCAA tourney. MSU, returning after a three-year absence, received an at-large berth and will play Oregon (18-13) in the first game Friday in Little Rock. State is seeded eighth in the South Regional.
The MSU-Oregon winner will play the winner of the No. 1-seeded Memphis and No. 16 Texas-Arlington contest on Sunday, March 23, for the right to advance to the Houston, Texas, regional the following weekend.
Mississippi State will be allotted 550 tickets for the first- and second-round games. Tickets are priced at $53 per session. First- and second-round games are separate sessions.
Fifty (50) tickets will be held for MSU students with a valid university identification, and will go on sale to them Wednesday at 8 a.m. at the Bryan Athletic Administration Ticket Office. One ticket will be available per student ID, according to the Bulldog Update bulletin sent out Sunday night.
Mississippi Valley State (19-15) beat Jackson State 59-58 Saturday to win the Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament and received an automatic berth into the tournament. Valley is the 16th seed in the West Regional and will play top-seeded UCLA (31-3) on Thursday in Anaheim, Calif.
Valley will be making its first trip since 1996.