Bid-stealers push Ole Miss to “First Four Out” in latest D1Baseball projections

Published 2:32 pm Saturday, May 28, 2022

Ole Miss is dangerously close to missing the postseason for just the fourth time in the Mike Bianco era.

The Rebels (32-22, 14-16 SEC) entered this week as a surefire bet for a No. 2 or No. 3 seed in a regional bracket, but a 3-1 loss to Vanderbilt in the opening round of the SEC tournament left them playing the waiting game while other bubble teams continued to improve their résumés.

After a week full of upsets, Ole Miss is now projected as one of the final teams to miss the cut for the NCAA tournament according to D1Baseball. They currently sit on the “First Four Out” line after the top seeds in the Mountain West and the West Coast Conference fell in their respective conference tournaments, pushing two at-large bids out of the field of 64.

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SEC West foe Alabama is now projected as the final team in the field after pulling off the upset over No. 13 Arkansas in the SEC tournament. An early-morning loss to Florida knocked the Crimson Tide out of the tournament on Saturday however, carving their résumé into stone as well.

Ole Miss does not stack up well against the Tide.

They have the edge in RPI, but Alabama’s sweep of the Rebels in Oxford, as well as their second-ranked strength of schedule and double-digit Top-25 wins appear to give them the advantage.

That leaves Bianco and company on the outside looking in as conference tournaments wrap up this weekend.

Ole Miss fans should pay close attention to the final rounds of the C-USA tournament, which features three bubble teams in UTSA, Old Dominion and Louisiana Tech.

The Roadrunners pushed themselves onto the “Last Four In” line with a win over No. 14 Southern Miss on Friday, and can secure their NCAA tournament bid when they face off with the Golden Eagles once again on Saturday. They will have two opportunities to knock off the C-USA powerhouse as they enter Saturday’s contest undefeated in the conference tournament.

The Monarchs fell to the “First Four Out” line with a loss to the Bulldogs in the C-USA tournament on Thursday, but improved their stock after coming out victorious in their rematch early Saturday morning. The two squads face off once more in an elimination game at 4 p.m. on ESPN+.

Ole Miss failed to add much-needed wins to their résumé, and now continues the waiting game as other bubble teams surge past them with conference tournament upsets.

The Rebels have made the NCAA tournament in 17 of Bianco’s 21 full seasons in Oxford, but may be sitting at home next week after being sent home early from Hoover.