After dropping their first two SEC games of the season, the Ole Miss men’s basketball team will try to make the third time a charm as they take on the Auburn Tigers today at 5 p.m. After facing two of the top teams in the conference in Kentucky and Florida, the Rebels need a win to begin their climb up the SEC standings. The Tigers come in having both of their SEC matchups as well, falling to UGA and Vanderbilt. The Rebels have won the last eight matchups against the Tigers, and to make it nine in a row, they will need to fix what went wrong in their last two games.
In the Rebels loss to the Gators, they were only able to score 70 points, their second-lowest point total this season. At one point the Rebels trailed by 19, and the deficit became too large to overcome. The Rebels did show resiliency by cutting the lead to single digits on two separate occasions in the second half but came up short in the end with the final score of 70-63. In what has become a theme for the Rebels, Sebastian Siaz recorded a double-double and Deandre Burnett led the way in scoring with 18 points. The rest of the team needs to begin to contribute if the Rebels want to start winning within the conference. Another key factor in the Rebels recent misfortunes is the inability to secure the basketball. In the loss to Florida, the Rebels turned the ball over 21 times leading to 18 Gator points. The Rebels did improve on their 37 percent shooting night against Kentucky by going 24-47 from the field. The 51 percent shooting was a definite bright spot and shows that Ole Miss can shoot efficiently. If the Rebels can couple that type of shooting with an improved focus on not turning the ball over they can take care of the Tigers on the road.
The Tigers come in with a 10-4 record and are 6-1 at home this season under 3rd-year coach Bruce Pearl. On the stat sheet, the Rebels, and the Tigers look quite similar. Ole Miss holds a slight edge in scoring offense (80.4 to 79.0) assists per game (13.8 to 13.2) FG percentage (.433 to .422) and 3 point percentage (.354 to .343). Averaging 15.9 PPG, Freshman guard Mustapha Heron leads the Tigers in scoring.
Tip-off from Auburn Arena is set for 5 p.m.Today’s game will be televised on the SEC Network and broadcasted on the Ole Miss Radio Network. The game can also be seen and heard online at WatchESPN.com and OleMissSports.com respectively.
Steven Gagliano is a writer for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.