Ole Miss earns NCAA Tournament bid for second straight year

Published 4:09 pm Monday, November 5, 2018

OXFORD — Ole Miss is returning to the NCAA Tournament. After an early exit in last week’s SEC Tournament in Orange Beach, Ala. the Rebels sweated it out until they received the good news during the NCAA Selection Show on Monday.

The Rebels (12-7-1) will play at Clemson (12-8) in the first round on Saturday at 5 p.m. CT. The first round takes place between Friday-Sunday. Ole Miss and Clemson last met in the second round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament, when the Rebels defeated the then-No. 7 Clemson in penalty kicks.

They are paired with the defending champion and this year’s No. 1 overall seed Stanford, who hosts Seattle University in the first round.

Ole Miss is one of nine Southeastern Conference teams to earn a berth in this year’s NCAA Tournament.

It is the first time since the 2002-03 seasons the Rebels have made it to the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back years. Last year they fell to Florida State in Tallahassee in a first round match.

Last Tuesday, Ole Miss lost to eventual tournament runner-up Arkansas 4-0 in the quarterfinal round of the SEC Tournament. It was a one-and-done appearance for the Rebels, keeping them squarely on the tournament bubble.

What worked in their favor was three top-25 RPI wins and a top-25 RPI draw. The month of October also boosted the Rebels’ tournament resume, winning their last three matches of the regular season and four of their last five.

“I think the way we were playing the last ten games being 5-4-1 makes me feel really good about the spot we are in,” Ole Miss head coach Matt Mott said on Monday prior to the selection show. “I serve on a regional committee and I feel good about what we have done.”

Mott is in his ninth season at Ole Miss. He has led the Rebels to four NCAA Tournament appearances, including a run to the Sweet 16 in 2015.