After a treacherous road stretch Ole Miss basketball returns home to The Pavilion in Oxford to take on the Alabama Crimson Tide in a must win game.
The Ole Miss basketball team is coming off back-to-back road losses against Texas A&M and Arkansas. Now the Rebels are finally back home in Oxford and are hosting the Tide Tuesday night. If there is a must-win situation for the Rebels then this has to be one.
Ole Miss (10-9, 3-4) needs this win to get back to .500 in conference play. Of course, a loss would decrease the chances of Andy Kennedy getting to that 20 game mark which impacts postseason play. More than anything else Ole Miss needs this win for a confidence booster. After two tough road losses the Rebels could just really use a good win at home.
The bad part of it is it will be against Alabama. Alabama (13-6, 5-2) is a really well coached and talented basketball team. Sitting at 3rd place in the SEC the Tide have shown they are a contender this season and right now they are playing good ball. Of course, we have to take a good look at the Crimson Tide.
Scouting The Tide
Ole Miss Rebels Basketball
Everybody who ever doubted Avery Johnson can put that to rest this season. Johnson has proven he has what it takes to put Alabama basketball back in the mix. Right now this Bama team is playing on a 4-game win streak and all those have been quality SEC wins.
The Tide are coming off a 68-62 win over Miss State this past Saturday and also have wins over Auburn, LSU, South Carolina and Texas A&M. Of course, Bama also has wins over Memphis, Rhode Island and BYU. Coach Avery Johnson and this Alabama team have proven they can play with anybody and win.
Among the talent Alabama has on this team is freshman guard Collin Sexton who leads the Tide in scoring. Sexton averages 19.3 points per game while also averaging 3.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game as well. Sexton could be ready to play despite being out the past two games but there is no word as of this time if he’ll see action.
Another major key in the Bama basketball cog is junior forward Donta Hall who leads the Tide in rebounding. Hall averages 6.9 boards per game while also averaging 10.9 points per game. Hall also leads the Tide with 2.3 blocks per game. Sophomore forward Braxton Key is another player to watch out for if he should get hot.
What To Expect
Who really knows from this Ole Miss basketball team? So far we’ve seen 11 different starting lineups from coach Andy Kennedy and won only 10 of 19 games. We’ve seen this Rebels team take down the best team in the SEC in the Florida Gators. We’ve seen moments when they looked great. However, we’ve also seen the same inconsistent play from the Rebels which we’ve seen in AK’s lineup.
In the past three games we’ve seen Bruce Stevens go for double-digit scoring with two 20+ point games. Terence Davis needed a breakout game and he found it with a 30 point effort against Arkansas. This Rebels team has been on the verge of a good run and I believe they find it against Bama tomorrow night.
This Rebels team is to the point where they are going to start having to play ‘blue collar’ like AK talked about. As much we all love to see the Rebels rain threes sometimes we take too many unwise shots. This team will be much better served playing more in the paint and save the outside for the hot hand. I believe we see a heavy dose of Deandre Burnett, Terence Davis and Bruce Stevens down low. Of course, we know we can count on Breein Tyree taking his share of three-point opportunities.
Keys To A Rebel Win
With the importance of this game moving forward this season I see there being several keys to this game for the Rebels. The Rebels have to play aggressive on both ends of the court. However, they have to play smart. Alabama is not a team which will allow you to make mistakes in a game and still get a win. The Rebels have to play solid offense and defense or Bama will make you pay.
Ole Miss has to eliminate poor shot decisions, unnecessary fouls and turnovers. The Rebels have to control the pace of the game and take the ball to the glass as much as possible. Work on the court with the sense of urgency we’ve seen before. Of course, the main key is playing consistent fundamentally sound basketball for 40 minutes. Ole Miss can do these things right and almost guarantee a win. Luckily we don’t have to wait long to find out.
Good luck to the Ole Miss Rebels as they host the Alabama Crimson Tide at The Pavilion in Oxford. The Tuesday night tip-off is set for 7:30pm CT and the game will be televised on the SEC Network. Hotty Toddy!