6. Mississippi (14-1, 1-1)
While the move may have been seen from some as controversial, especially with what happened last year at Texas, the Rebels swung for the fences by bringing Chris Beard into the program as the new head coach. After back-to-back seasons below .500, Ole Miss is hoping that the future is significantly brighter with Beard leading the charge and it’s been very true in his first two months on the court.
The Rebels were one of the final unbeaten teams this season, winning their first 13 games of the season (all in nonconference play) before falling to Tennessee this past weekend. That’s the good, but there’s been some bad for the Rebels as well. They only barely beaten an awful Detroit team back in early November and also struggled against Temple. They lost by 26 in that game against the Volunteers, though bounced back nicely against Florida.
Both Matthew Murrell and Allen Flanigan have been fantastic for the Rebels, and we could talk at length about Jaylen Murray and a few others as well. You could insult the Rebels’ schedule or point to the close calls, but this team has shown that they can win close games. They didn’t blow it against those teams, and also clung on for close wins against Memphis and UCF. We’ll see how the rigors of SEC play affect this team, though it’s hard not to be excited for the future in Oxford.