Ole Miss basketball is finally winding down its season and with just two regular season games left the Rebels are on the road at Lexington.
It hasn’t been a very enjoyable season for Ole Miss basketball (12-17, 5-11) but it’s finally about to be over. With just two regular season games left Rebels won’t have to endure much more from what this rough season has to offer. Of course, the Rebels still have to compete and should try to close out the bad season on a positive note.
The road hasn’t been very kind to the Rebels this season. So far the Rebels are just 1-9 in true road games. The lone road win came just last week against the Missouri Tigers in Columbia. At that time we expected the huge road win to build some confidence and momentum as the Rebels headed back home this past Saturday to take on the No.19 ranked Vols. The Rebels fell 73-65.
Now Ole Miss basketball has to head to Lexington to take on the Kentucky Wildcats (20-9, 9-7). Of course this has not been the season Wildcats fans had expected to see either. Coach Calipari and the Wildcats have teetered in and out of the top-25 all season. Right now the Wildcats are playing well on a three game win streak.
Naturally its no big surprise the Wildcats are playing better basketball right before the tourney. Kentucky is a very well-coached and very talented team. In the age of ‘one and done’ college basketball, Kentucky is one of the greatest in the country. Of course, we’ll look at some of their key players.
Scouting The Cats
Ole Miss Rebels Basketball
As with the any great basketball team there are players on Kentucky’s team which are key to their success. One of their best is freshman forward Kevin Knox. Knox leads the Cats in scoring averaging 15.6 points per game. Knox also averages 5.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game as well.
Another key player is freshman guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Gilgeous-Alexander leads the Cat in steals and assists averaging 1.7 and 4.7 respectively per game. He also averages 12.9 points and 3.5 rebounds per game as well as leading the team in 3-point percentage making 39% of his shots.
Freshman forward Nick Richards is another valuable asset to the Cats. Richards leads the team in field goal percentage making 61.9% of his shots. Sophomore forward Wenyen Gabriel leads the team in blocks with 1.1 per game.
Freshman forward Jarred Vanderbilt is another young player who can ball. Vanderbilt leads the Cats in rebounding with 7.8 boards per game. He also averages 5.9 points and 1 assist per game. Like all of these players Vanderbilt can easily get in a groove and score in double-digits.
What To Expect
Coach Calipari has been under an extreme amount of pressure this season as the Wildcats have under-performed. However, the past three games have been huge for the confidence of the Cats just before the SEC Tourney. We can expect a heavy dose of action in the paint from the Cats against the Rebels. Cal knows if he can sit some of the better Rebels players with foul trouble it will open his game up.
This game could get ugly quick if the Rebels don’t step up and play smart basketball. Bruce Steven and Terence Davis have to stay on the floor for the Rebels to have a shot. We can expect another big game from Breein Tyree who has been on a roll the past two games. We can also expect to see the reemergence of Deandre Burnett who has slumped in the past few games.
Thankfully we don’t have to wait long to see Ole Miss basketball back in action. The Rebels will be in Lexington, Kentucky Wednesday night to take on the Wildcats. Tip-off is set for 6pm CT and the game will be televised on ESPN2. Good luck to coach Tony Madlock and the Rebels. Hotty Toddy!