Ole Miss Basketball: Grove Grinder, Rebels are rolling hard

Coach Kermit Davis and Ole Miss basketball are on a huge roll as they enter the last five games of the regular season headed into the SEC Tourney.

While the 2020-21 Ole Miss basketball season may not have been what Rebels fans had hoped for or expected, it has been exciting. Especially the last four games. Coach Kermit Davis was just as confused by the season beforehand as most fans were. The Rebels had one of the top-scoring defenses in the nation but simply couldn’t find an offense to speak of once SEC competition began.

On January 30 the Rebels traveled to Athens, Georgia to face the Georgia Bulldogs and suffered a 71-61 loss. The Rebels returned to Oxford with a 12-8, 3-6 record. The Rebels looked like and played like a team with no offense and no confidence. Then something clicked and the Rebels started making shots and winning games. Not just regular games against subpar competition, but games against top-10 teams.

Let The Fun Begin

No Ole Miss fan enjoys losing games. Naturally, winning is always more fun, and being able to see the enjoyment the players get from winning is awesome. When you have a team that is loaded with talent and you lose games it has a tremendous effect on the confidence of the team itself and of course, the confidence fans have in the players and coaches. Winning is just more fun, period!

Enter February 2. The Rebels hosted No.10 Tennessee in Oxford. Nobody expected the Rebels to win. Then Kermit Davis and Ole Miss basketball shocked the college basketball world and picked up a shocking 52-50 win. While it was not a high-scoring game, the Rebels were able to play shut down defense and shoot well enough to get the win.

Then on February 6, the Rebels traveled to Auburn to face the Tigers. While Auburn has not had the season their fans have expected, they are a well-coached and talented team. The Rebels’ offense showed up and they got the 82-80 overtime win on a last-second shot by Devontae Shuler. Of course, it was a game the Rebels should have won.

The Rebels were then back at home in The Pavilion on February 10 to host No.10 Missouri in a midweek matchup. Once again the Rebels’ offense showed up and with shutdown defense, the Rebels were able to dominate the Tigers en route to an 80-59 blowout win. It was another huge signature win for coach Kermit Davis and the Rebels.

The following Saturday on February 14 the Rebels traveled to Columbia, South Carolina to face the Gamecocks. This game was another case of a well-coached and talented team that has fallen short of the expectations fans had at the beginning of the season. While the Rebels controlled much of the game, it took a huge offensive game by Devontae Shuler and the Rebels to get the 81-74 SEC road win. Shuler had a career-high 31 points against the Gamecocks.

This has been a very surprising past two weeks for Rebels fans. When you consider the offensive woes the Rebels had been having it really has been amazing. We’ve seen different players stepping up in games and helping the Rebels get wins. Romello White has been a monster in the paint. Jarkel Joiner has proven to be a key offensive player and has been consistently shooting well. KJ Buffen came off the bench and scored double-digits against the Gamecocks. This team has been rolling hard.

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Of course, our hopes are high that the Rebels can continue to roll and see a solid SEC Tourney and NCAA Tourney run. With five regular-season games left in the season, the Rebels’ schedule doesn’t get any easier. In fact, the Rebels will be back in action Wednesday night to face off against the LSU Tigers. Tipoff is set for 8:00 pm CT and the game will be televised via ESPNU. Good luck to coach Kermit Davis and the Rebels as they tackle the next five games and then the SEC Tourney. As always, stay safe and Hotty Toddy!