The college basketball season is well underway. Some teams have surpassed expectations, others have met them, but there is a select group of teams that have fallen short of their preseason projections.
As it stands now, Ole Miss belongs to the latter. With Rebel fans growing tired of bottom-feeding, some feel as though it is time to make some changes in leadership.
Head coach Kermit Davis arrived in Oxford before the 2018-2019 season. In his five seasons with the Rebels, he has garnered a 73-71 record, which is carried primarily by his first season, when his team won 20 games. This season, The Rebels’ record stands at 9-10. The Rebels lost again on Saturday 57-69 at Arkansas.
Davis has hit the double-digit SEC win mark just twice, in his first and third seasons, when he won 10 SEC games. Ole Miss has been ranked nationally in only one season under Davis, which also occurred in his first season.
Additionally, the offensive numbers have dropped steadily over the past five years. Ole Miss currently averages 67.6 points per game, which would go on record as the lowest-scoring offense in the Davis era. However, Ole Miss did not bring in Davis for his offensive mind.
Davis is inherently a defensive coach. An old-school mindset like this has allowed Ole Miss to be a top defense in the SEC under his tenure.
Another redeeming quality for Davis is his recruiting. He has managed to bring in multiple four-star athletes, namely Daeshun Ruffin, Matthew Murrell and Amaree Abram. Davis has also stuck his hand in the transfer portal to grab impact players such as Myles Burns, Jayveous McKinnis, Jaemyn Brakefield, Josh Mballa and Theo Akwuba.
His off-court recruiting has never been questioned, as he has done the most with limited resources, but it is the on-court aspect that has fans up in arms.
His teams have a tendency to underperform in big games, especially this year. Ole Miss has managed to let nearly every big game slip through its fingers.
They had Tennessee on the ropes in Oxford and handed them the game late. They led Auburn at halftime and ended up losing. They played Georgia and Mississippi State close all game and fell apart as crunch time began.
It is not good to be known as the team that has all the pieces but cannot figure out how to make them fit, and that is exactly what Ole Miss is now and what they have been in previous years.
Ole Miss put on one of its best performances of the season against South Carolina, winning
70-58 on Jan. 17, so there is a slight hope that the Rebels can turn things around in time to meet the middle-of-the-pack SEC team predictions from the preseason — and maybe, just maybe, that would earn Davis another year.
However, if history repeats itself, another losing season for Ole Miss could lead to changes in the coaching staff.