Ole Miss Makes NIT Field, Plays At California Wednesday

2011 NIT Bracket Get Acrobat Reader

March 13, 2011

OXFORD, Miss. - For the fourth time in the last five years, Ole Miss has been selected to the National Invitation Tournament field of 32.

The No. 5 seeded Rebels (20-13) will travel to the University of California, Berkeley to play the No. 4 seeded Golden Bears (17-14) on Wednesday at 8 p.m. CT, televised by ESPN2.

"Any time that you have the opportunity to play in an invitation-only postseason tournament, you embrace it and prepare your team to make the most of your opportunities," said head coach Andy Kennedy, who has led Ole Miss to postseason play and 20-win seasons in four of his five seasons. "To go on the road and play a storied Pac-10 program coached by one of the most respected coaches in the country will be a tremendous challenge. There are less than 30 percent of all college basketball teams still playing, so we will not take this opportunity for granted."

A victory Wednesday would advance the Rebels to a second-round meeting with the winner between No. 1 seed Colorado and No. 8 Texas Southern, which would take place at the site of the higher seed on either March 18, 19, 20 or 21. The quarterfinals are scheduled for March 22 or 23. The host school for each round is based on the higher seed. The NIT Final Four is March 29 and 31 at New York's Madison Square Garden.

The Rebels and Golden Bears have never met. The last Pac-10 team that Ole Miss faced was UCLA in the 2002 NCAA Tournament. The last time the Rebels traveled to the state of California was in 1986 for a non-conference tournament in San Diego.

Ole Miss is back in postseason play for the 16th time in the program's history and the fourth time in the last five seasons. Kennedy is the first head coach in school history to guide the Rebels to four 20-win seasons and the second to lead the team to four postseason berths.

The Rebels are playing in their 10th NIT and fourth in the last five years. Last year, Ole Miss made it to the NIT Semifinals held at Madison Square Garden for the second time in three seasons. Kennedy's squad beat Troy, Memphis and Texas Tech en route to a matchup with eventual champion Dayton in New York.

Ole Miss has a 13-9 all-time record in the NIT, including a 6-2 mark in their last two appearances.

The Rebels have an overall postseason record of 16-15 in program history with nine trips to the NIT (1980, 1982, 1983, 1987, 1989, 2000, 2007, 2008, 2010) 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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