It has been a roller coaster ride for Ole Miss men’s basketball so far in SEC play, and that ride may continue this weekend in the matchup with the Missouri Tigers.
The Rebels won three straight games, two of which came against then-No. 10 Auburn and No. 14 Mississippi State, putting them in the top 25 for the first time since 2013.
Then, they lost five of their next six, including a 21-point drubbing at Alabama and a pair of heartbreakers against Florida and Mississippi State in The Pavilion.
Following that, they once again won three straight games, with the most recent win being at Auburn to complete a season-sweep of the team and add to an already healthy postseason resume.
Whether their winning streak stays alive or not is to be determined Saturday when Ole Miss welcomes Missouri to town. The Tigers have struggled in SEC play up to this point with a 3-8 record. Most of those losses have been by double digits. Their most recent outing featured a close 79-78 home victory over Arkansas.
Ole Miss is coming off of what is perhaps one of its best defensive performances of the season. The Rebels held Auburn to its lowest-scoring game and lowest shooting percentage of the season with a 60-55 victory on the plains.
Auburn went into that game averaging more than 80 points per game. Look for the Rebels to duplicate that kind of defensive success playing against a team that is last in the SEC in scoring. Still, it may be a challenge to defend against Missouri players like Jordan Geist.
Geist leads the Tigers in points per game, with 13.8, and in total assists, with 74 on the
year. Jeremiah Tilmon, who averages 11.2 points per night, is their main big body in the paint.
Tilmon had a dominant performance in their win over Arkansas, scoring 21 points to lead the Tigers. As a team, they average 14 turnovers a game. Look for Missouri to try and limit those against an Ole Miss team that creates a lot of them.
This past Wednesday, the Rebels had a few players step up in a big way. Devontae Shuler had 17 points, including a career-high of four three-pointers. Zach Naylor hit a few key shots with five points in the second half. With Blake Hinson out with an illness, Ole Miss got to show its depth as well.
Look for Missouri to pressure Davis and Tyree beyond the three-point line after the Rebels saw a season-high 13 three-pointers fall Wednesday versus Auburn. However, Ole Miss may elect to slow the pace of the game like they did against Auburn.
This tactic proved to be successful, with shots made at the shot-clock buzzer. The Tigers may adopt a similar strategy in an attempt to stymie shooters like Davis and Tyree.
Tipoff is set for 2:30 p.m. at The Pavilion, and you can watch the game on the SEC Network.