By Adam Brown
The Ole Miss Rebels men’s basketball team returns to the hardwood on Saturday as they welcome the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. on SEC Network.
“Our team has done well this week with practice preparing for Middle Tennessee,” coach Kermit Davis said. “We look forward to playing on Saturday.”
Ole Miss (6-3) is coming into the contest after defeating CSU Bakersfield 83-67 last weekend. As a former Rebel basketball player and coach, CSU Bakersfield head coach Rod Barnes returned home for the matchup. Sophomore Blake Hinson led the Rebels on the floor with 23 points.
“He has been great,” Davis said. The other day I was really proud of Blake as he made a couple of three’s and drove the ball to the free-throw line being psychical around the paint.”
Coach Davis’ squad will now welcome his former team into the Pavilion.
“I have a lot of buddies who are coming back for the game who are good friends of ours,” Davis said. “It is still a little different but not as much as it was last year.”
Junior Khadim Sy has played in all nine games on the season and is averaging 54 percent from the floor with 43 boards on the year in 19.9 minutes per contest.
“(Sy) has made a lot of progress in the last couple of weeks,” Davis said. “I can hear his voice in the gym a lot more, and as far as his balance of being able to catch the ball and score through traffic is good.”
Middle Tennessee is rolling into town with a 4-6 start to the campaign following an 85-52 setback at Murray State (Dec. 7). After starting off the season 3-0, the Blue Raiders have lost six of their last seven games. The duo of C.J. Jones and Antonio Green paces Middle Tennessee in scoring at 16.2 ppg and 15.7 ppg, respectively. The two Blue Raiders have accounted for 49 of the team’s 78 made three-pointers on the season. Green also leads the team in assists (3.2 per game) and steals (1.4 per game).
“They are still a dangerous offensive team when you watch them play Belmont,” Davis said.
This will be the 12th all-time meeting between the two programs. Ole Miss trails in the series 5-6, but last season defeated the Blue Raiders 74-56 in Nashville, Tennessee.