The Ole Miss Rebel men’s basketball team returns to action this evening to face the South Carolina Gamecocks in the opening round of the SEC Tournament in St. Louis, Missouri. Tip-off is slated for 8:30 p.m. on the SEC Network.
Ole Miss (12-19, 5-13) comes in as the bottom seed into the tournament. The Rebels dropped their regular season finale at home to Vanderbilt 82-69. Junior Bruce Stevens led the way in scoring against the Commodores with 17 points. His teammate Terence Davis is five points shy of becoming the 39th Rebel player to reach the 1,000-point career scoring mark after his 15-point performance against Vandy.
Sophomore guard Breein Tyree has averaged16.6 points per game over the last five games.
South Carolina enters the SEC Tournament with a 16-15 record, including a 7-11 mark in conference play. The Gamecocks are coming off a 79-70 road loss to Auburn but won three of their last five conference games to end the season. As a team, South Carolina ranks right behind Ole Miss in offensive rebounds per game (12.6) in SEC play.
Junior forward Chris Silva leads South Carolina in multiple categories, including points per game (14.1), rebounds per game (7.8) and blocks (41). Frank Booker, a graduate transfer from Florida Atlantic, is the only other Gamecock averaging double figures in scoring (12.5 ppg) and leads the team in three-point shooting with 76 made threes at a 40.4 percent clip. The next closest South Carolina player is Justin Minaya with 33 triples.
Frank Martin is in his sixth season as South Carolina’s head coach. He guided the Gamecocks to a school-record 26 wins and their first-ever Final Four appearance a season ago.
Tonight’s game will be the 39th meeting between the two schools on the hardwood, with Ole Miss holding a slight 20-18 advantage in the all-time series by winning the last two matchups. Overall, the Rebels have won seven of the last 11 contests against the Gamecocks. The series is tied 4-4 in SEC Tournament play with Ole Miss winning six of the last eight. The two school have met in the conference tournament twice this decade. Ole Miss emerged with a 66-55 victory in 2011, while South Carolina claimed a 60-58 overtime win in the last SEC Tournament matchup (2015).
Adam Brown is the sports editor of HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.HERE!