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Rebels await word on NIT

The Ole Miss men’s basketball team won’t have to wait much longer to find out if it has played its last game this season.

An early exit from last week’s Southeastern Conference tournament ensured that the Rebels won’t be a part of this year’s NCAA tournament, but Ole Miss is in the mix for a berth in the National Invitation Tournament. NYCbuckets.com projected Ole Miss (20-12) as a No. 5 seed in the 32-team field as of Saturday afternoon.

But that was before a number of conference tournament champions were crowned Saturday night, and some won’t be decided until today. Any regular-season champion of a Division I conference that doesn’t get selected for the NCAA tournament automatically qualifies for the NIT, meaning the NIT’s at-large pool could shrink if the No. 1 seeds from one-bid leagues, mostly mid-major conferences, don’t also win their conference tournaments.

Ole Miss was bounced from the SEC tournament in its first game for the second straight year Thursday in an 81-73 loss to Alabama. The Rebels are 95th in the NCAA’s latest RPI rankings with three wins over top-100 RPI teams.

Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said before the tournament started his team may have needed a win in Nashville or “our season may just be over,” but that didn’t happen.
The NIT field will be announced on a selection show tonight at 7:30 on ESPNU.