By Rachel West
Mark my word. Kermit Davis is a winner.
Ole Miss men’s basketball is beyond anything Rebel Nation has ever seen.
The Rebels defeated No. 14 Mississippi State University on Saturday 81-77. Davis’ team also defeated No. 11 Auburn Wednesday night. Two wins in four days over top 15 ranked opponents isn’t a fluke.
Here’s why: Kermit Davis knows defense and he can teach.
When basketball season rolled around for the last 10 years, my husband Phil West and I would watch MTSU during March Madness. Phil graduated from MTSU. We’d discuss how the town had changed and how we admired this “Coach Kermit” guy—as we called him for fun—and how Phil marveled about how much MTSU had grown.
I have always loved basketball. I grew up watching and attending games. When I was 14 I learned that you can scream too much cheering your heart out for the University of Arkansas men’s basketball team.
The Hogs were good. Prior to that they had Final Four appearances, sweet 16 wins and more. It was a great time to call a Hog.
Nolan Richardson, head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks, ran the show. He wore white alligator shoes and bright red pants. He couldn’t be missed nor could his team. He knew basketball. He called it, “40 minutes of Hell” — and it was hell. His plan was all about defense. Richardson’s teams were disciplined, alive and hungry to win. They lived on steals, rebounds and killer shots. His scheme was built upon defense, and the points came. The “May-Day” connection was more than a connection. Then they killed those worn out opponents in the NCAA Championship in 1994 with Corlis Willams, Scotty Thurman and many others.
Opponents were worn out. Todd (Day), Lee (Mayberry) Willams and Thurman shot points from the arch that no one could defend.
Why I studied basketball during the early and mid-90s is a different story. I never played, not one minute. Yet, I still watch and I learn.
Coach Davis probably hasn’t ever watched one second of film of Nolan Richardson’s teams. But Davis’ team’s style of play reminds me of those days. Rebel Nation better get ready!
Because this team is — READY!