In the second game of session two on Thursday, the Tennessee Volunteers and Ole Miss met at the hardwood in session two of the 2023 Men’s Basketball Southeastern Conference Tournament. Despite the Volunteers walking away with a win over Ole Miss on Thursday afternoon, it did not come easy as the Rebels refused to quit. Tennessee has more talent on the roster and, on paper, should have blown the Rebels off the court. However, Tennessee failed to close the door on the Rebels, creating an opportunity for Ole Miss to hang around and creep into the thoughts of the Vol Nation in attendance at Bridgestone Arena.
Heading into the Thursday showdown with Tennessee, Ole Miss had just beaten South Carolina on Wednesday night of the Southeastern Conference Tournament, and the confidence in the program was at an all-time high for the Tournament. Yet, that can only get you so far in postseason basketball. Tennessee had too much talent for Ole Miss to overcome as the Rebels’ season in Nashville to the hands of Tennessee.
Ole Miss Basketball has gone through a lot over the last month, from a coaching change to playing with the rumor mill swirling like crazy. Somehow, Ole Miss got past that and won a game in the Southeastern Conference Tournament. Many thought the Rebels would not even do that. Even with a Thursday exit in the SEC Tournament, there is still plenty to be happy about as the 2022-2023 Ole Miss Basketball season ends.
In the Southeastern Conference Tournament alone, Ole Miss showed a lot of fight and played with a purpose. In the coming days, Ole Miss Basketball will undergo a coaching change that will likely reshape the future of Ole Miss Basketball for the better.
For Tennessee, the Volunteers did just enough to win on Thursday and will have to play a lot better on Friday if they want a chance at beating Missouri and playing the Semi-final round on Saturday. Missouri is a much better team than Ole Miss and will give the Volunteers fits if they play the way they play on Thursday against Ole Miss. Missouri will be a physical presence that Tennessee will have to fight for the full 40 minutes. Once you get to the Friday round of the SEC Tournament, all remaining teams deserve to be there and can cut down the nets with a championship trophy in hand on Sunday.
Tennessee and Missouri will follow the Mississippi State and Alabama game on Friday.