We are one day away from the tip-off the 2016 Ole Miss Basketball season where the Rebels take on the UT Martin Skyhawks at the Pavilion. This will be the 107th year of Ole Miss Basketball, and the 11th under the leadership of Andy Kennedy. The Rebels missed out on the NCAA tournament last season after finishing 20-12 overall, 10-8 in the SEC and losing in the second round of the SEC tournament to Alabama.
The Rebels are faced with replacing their leading scorer Stefan Moody and many others from last year’s roster. Only two 2015 starters remain on the Rebel roster including senior forward Sebastian Siaz and Rasheed Brooks. Kennedy spoke of sophomore guard Terence Davis’ improved game coming into his second year with the team after appearing in 20 games as a freshman. With no true center on the floor for the Rebels, 6-7 guard Marcanvis Hymon led the team in blocks last season and field goal percentage taking efficient shots from the paint. Ten Rebels saw game action during the exhibition victory over Morehouse last week and look for more of the same tomorrow night, as Kennedy will look to distribute minutes to the many new faces on the Rebel bench.
Three transfers join the program this season, two projected starters including guard Cullen Neal, the junior from The University of New Mexico. Neal led the Rebels with 19 points in the exhibition game. Another transfer, who fans are anxious to see, is PG Deandre Burnett. Burnett sat out the 2015-16 season after coming to the Rebels from Miami, and was named a top impact transfer by CBSSports.com and SI.com.
UT-Martin finished 20-15 overall last season and 10-6 in the Ohio Valley Conference. The Skyhawks are coached by first-year head coach Anthony Stewart. On the court, the Skyhawks are led by their senior guard from Starkville Jacolby Mobley, who led the team in scoring last season. The Rebels have played UT-Martin only twice before and are 2-0 in those contests, with the last meeting taking place in 2004.
The Rebels will not begin conference play until a December 29th meeting against the gold-standard of the SEC, the Kentucky Wildcats. With 12 games in between now and then, Rebels have a chance to figure out this young team’s identity and chemistry before that matchup with the Wildcats.
Tip-off for tomorrow night’s game is at 6 p.m. Central time at the Pavilion on the Ole Miss Campus. The game will be televised on the SEC Network Alternative Channel or WatchESPN.com with the commentary team of Will Kollmeyer and former Ole Miss player Gerald Glass. The game can also be heard on the Ole Miss Radio Network, and audio can be heard on OleMissSports.com.
Steven Gagliano is a writer for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.