Ole Miss had a heartbreaking 62-63 loss at the hands of South Carolina that possibly put Ole Miss right outside of the NCAA tourney bubble. Before Kennedy even had time to answer post game media questions the message boards were already in full swing beating the “fire AK” drum. There is not a more emotional place after a loss than a team’s message boards. I get that, but this seems to be a growing sentiment among some Ole Miss fans who are ready to bail on Kennedy if the Rebels don’t make an NCAA appearance this year. Are you sure you really want that?
First thing you have to look at is Ole Miss Basketball historically. It’s been a long time since they made the NCAA tournament and if you look at it objectively, Ole Miss basketball history isn’t that great. Add in that basketball just isn’t stressed that much by fans and boosters. Also take into account how little talent is in his immediate recruiting area. Mississippi is already small but how many schools elite athletes do you think pick basketball? Taking all those factors into account, the first thing that needs to be addressed is what level of success do we realistically expect and strive for?
Next look at Kennedy and his record at Ole Miss. He is 144-84 for a .632 winning percentage. I don’t care what anyone says, that is a dang good record. The numbers don’t lie and Andy Kennedy has made Ole Miss a consistent winner. He doesn’t have the NCAA tournament banners yet but look at the odds against him: not a big basketball commitment from boosters and the worst arena in the SEC. Even with deficiencies against him he wins, period. Bjork seems to have made a bigger commitment to basketball. Imagine what Kennedy could do with better tools.
The last thing you need to think about is what it could be. If you make the move now, are you in a better position to upgrade and trend up as a program? I say no. It’s easy to take a .632 winning percentage with no NCAA’s for granted but you could end up like MSU in a year. MSU won’t sniff the NCAA for a long while. Most MSU fans would trade positions with you right now in a heartbeat. Let’s not kid ourselves either. Ole Miss can still play their way into the NCAA’s this year.
Guys, I’m telling yall, do not fire Andy Kennedy. Even if he doesn’t make the NCAA this year. Enjoy your success and embrace it. You have a reason to watch games. You have a reason to go to games. Some schools don’t and will not in the immediate future. Kennedy is a good coach who deserves to reap the benefits of an AD who wants a winning basketball program. If AK can go 144-84 with a swiss army knife, imagine what he can do with black and decker power tools.