After losing eight of its last nine games, the Ole Miss men’s basketball team looks to get back on track when they face South Carolina at home on Wednesday.
The Rebels have a 10-11 record overall and are 1-7 in SEC play. They sit at No. 13 in the conference and just one game above Vanderbilt, who has not won a conference game since they defeated Ole Miss in 2018.
Junior guard Devontae Shuler dominated last week, recording his two highest career-scoring nights and averaging 27 points per game. A native of South Carolina, he played with the top two picks in last year’s NBA draft in Zion Williamson and Ja Morant. Shuler is one of four guards in the SEC to rank in the conference’s top 10 in both steals and assist to turnover ratio.
Sophomore forward Blake Hinson also has connections to South Carolina. His older brother Evan played both football and basketball for the Gamecocks. He appeared in 46 games on the hardwood over three years from 2017-19.
Senior guard Breein Tyree is third in the SEC in scoring, averaging at 17.9 per game. He averages just over 20 per game in conference play and is the SEC’s active leader in career points.
University of South Carolina enters Wednesday’s contest with a 13-8 record and is 5-3 in conference play. The Gamecocks boast as the SEC’s top opponent field goal percentage at 38.4 per game, good for 19th in the country. They are also in the top 25 in the country in opponent three-point field goal percentage at 29.3%.
The NCAA Tournament is not out of the question for the Gamecocks, but they must string together some wins if they want to get to the Big Dance in March. They have not been to the dance since 2017 when they made the Final Four as a No. 7 seed.
The last time Ole Miss faced South Carolina, they came up short in Columbia despite registering a season-high nine blocks on the defensive end. The Gamecocks were led by forward Chris Silva’s 18 points and four rebounds, but the athletic giant now plays for Miami’s G-League affiliate. Tyree scored 19 points and played all 40 minutes in the losing effort. The Rebels may need to lean on him once more if they want to come out with a victory.
This has not necessarily been the case for the Rebels this season, as all five starters averaged double figures in their 10 wins.
The winner of Wednesday’s contest will take the edge in the all-time series. Both programs have won 20 games against the other with the home teams dominating the series. They are a combined 26-4 at home, which bodes well for the Rebs as they try and snap their losing streak.
Head coach Kermit Davis is also seeking a milestone win: his 500th in his career. He is 38th in wins among active Division I coaches.