Ole Miss Makes NIT As 2 Seed, Hosts Illinois State Wednesday
Terrance Henry (photo by Joshua McCoy)

March 11, 2012

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OXFORD, Miss. - After winning 20 games and making a run to the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament, the Ole Miss Rebels were selected to the National Invitation Tournament field of 32 on Sunday.

With their selection, Andy Kennedy becomes the first coach in Rebel hoops history to lead his teams to five postseason appearances.

The No. 2 seeded Rebels (20-13) will host No. 7 seed Illinois State (20-13) on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. CT, televised by ESPNU. This is the 75th anniversary of the NIT.

Tickets for the NIT game will be $10 for adults and $4 for students (college students and younger). For tickets, call the Ole Miss Ticket Office at 662-915-7167 or order online. Gates will open an hour and a half before game time. There will be general parking with no charge.

Those who held 2011-12 season tickets will need to log in to their account and order the possible three-game package in order to receive priority for the same seats that they had during the regular season. These customers will need to order by noon on Tuesday to receive priority for their seats.

Remaining tickets will be available to the general public with no seating priority.

"Although we are obviously disappointed that we came up just short of reaching our ultimate goal of being selected to play in the NCAA Tournament, we are pleased to have the opportunity to continue our season as a No. 2 seed in the NIT," Kennedy said. "We have reached the NIT Final Four two times and getting back to New York City and Madison Square Garden would be a great experience for our guys."

A victory Wednesday would advance the Rebels to a second-round meeting with the winner between No. 3 seed Stanford and No. 6 Cleveland State, which would also take place in Oxford on either March 16, 17, 18 or 19. The quarterfinals are scheduled for March 20 or 21. The host school for each round is based on the higher seed. The NIT Final Four is March 27 and 29 at New York's Madison Square Garden.

Illinois State fell to No. 25 Creighton 83-79 in overtime in the Missouri Valley Conference championship game last Sunday. The Rebels and Redbirds have met twice before. ISU won at home 76-72 on Dec. 23, 1978, and at a tournament in Milwaukee 70-52 on Nov. 16, 2004.

Ole Miss is back in postseason play for the 17th time in the program's history and the fifth time in the last six seasons. Kennedy has led the Rebels to more postseason wins (7) than any other coach in school history.

The Rebels are playing in their 11th NIT, their third straight appearance and fifth in the last six years. Last year, Ole Miss lost at California in the first round.

Ole Miss has a 13-10 all-time record in the NIT, including a 6-3 mark in their last three appearances. They advanced to the NIT Final Four in New York in both 2008 and 2010.

The Rebels have an overall postseason record of 16-16 in program history with 10 trips to the NIT (1980, 1982, 1983, 1987, 1989, 2000, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011) and six to the NCAA Tournament (1981, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002). The Rebels' best postseason result came in the 2001 NCAA Tournament when the team reached the Sweet Sixteen before falling to eventual national runner-up Arizona.

Ole Miss made its first postseason appearance in 1980, reaching the NIT second round. That season began a string of four straight years with postseason play, including the program's first NCAA berth in 1981.


 

 

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