Let’s waste no time. Let’s go ahead and dive into our reactions of the latest surrounding Ole Miss.
Moody Is On Fire
I believe many Rebel fans thought they had lost a big factor of three-point shooting once Marshall Henderson graduated last seas\
on. Little did we know Stefan Moody would come in and take Rebel Nation by storm. Last night, the junior guard put on a hell of a performance from behind the arch. Moody led the Rebels to victory over Mississippi State with 29 total points, 24 of which came from nailing eight three pointers.
Moody has proven he is the new face of this team, but we need others to step up in order to continue the current success. Senior guard Jarvis Summers, who was averaging 14.5 points per game in the first 19 games of the season, has averaged just 6.6 in the last six contests. Summers was expected to be the leader of this Ole Miss squad, after posting 23 points against Creighton, 23 points against No. 1 Kentucky, and 22 points in the home game against Mississippi State, but lately it seems to be Moody as the leader.
However, the one thing Summers is doing right with his leadership role is that he’s consistently setting his teammates up for success. Currently, Summers leads the SEC with 114 assists on the season, while hauling in 32 in his last six games. I’m just ready for him to get back into his usual rhythm of being a leading scorer for this team. Stats have shown with both Moody and Summers racking up double figures in scoring, matchups are a less of a struggle for the Rebels.
Rebels In The RPI
Thursday night’s win over Mississippi State actually improved Ole Miss’ RPI rankings. It is this ranking that determines the chances of the Rebels receiving an opportunity to go dancing in March. Ole Miss currently sits with a No. 35 RPI ranking, as Mississippi State continues to drop, sitting at No. 180 in the nation. If the Rebels can continue to win heading into the SEC Tournament, not only will they receive a high seed in Nashville, but they will for sure reach the 2015 NCAA Tournament.
State Bragging Rights
What last night’s game really came down to was state bragging rights. Ole Miss is well on their way to an NCAA Tournament berth and Mississippi State’s only hope is a miracle from God to crown them SEC Tournament champions in order to get an automatic bid. That logic did not prevent the Bulldogs from going down with a good fight. They fought hard, but Ole Miss just proved they were the best team in this state on Thursday night. Now, along with their Egg Bowl win in November, Ole Miss controls the momentum of the athletic programs in this state moving forward.
Even though this was the first time in five meetings Ole Miss has won a basketball game in Starkville and it was the first time since 1998 the Rebels claimed a series sweep over Mississippi State, we can now look at State fans with bragging rights of the present, considering that has been Bulldog fans’ whole proclamation for the past six years in football, denying your argument of the overall record.
What is there to show for now in Starkville? The Egg Bowl nests peaceful at home in Oxford, while State’s head football coach struggles to sleep at night. That insomnia comes from the fact that Dan Mullen has built his whole success at Mississippi State around beating Ole Miss. It is an obsession that goes as far as him stealing a phrase from former Ohio State coach Woody Hayes, calling Ole Miss “That School Up North” versus saying the university’s actual name. It was his quote after last season’s dismantle of playoff hopes by the Rebels that he “will not be able to get over this for 365 days.”
Rick Ray is quite possibly in job security mode now, after losing to the Rebels for the fourth straight time. State fans have zero tolerance for their “This is Our State” billboards having little value.
Keep in mind, Mississippi State has not beaten Ole Miss in any men’s collegiate sport in 304 days and counting. You have go back to last year’s Governor’s Cup in order to find the last time the Bulldogs tasted victory over the Rebels. That is one game though. Don’t look past the fact that Ole Miss demolished State in a three-game baseball series that season in front of a sold out (record breaking) Starkvegas crowd. On top of that, Ole Miss had the overall better season, considering they finished third in the nation after an amazing College World Series run. What will be their reaction if the same results happen during this baseball season? We will find out on April 28th when Ole Miss and Mississippi State square off in the annual Pearl, Mississippi matchup. By then, it will be over a year since State has beaten Ole Miss. So, maybe they will be a little more hungry to beat them damn Rebels.