Ole Miss Begins SEC Play Against South Carolina

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Ole Miss begins a new segment of its season on Sunday and arguably its most important one as South Carolina comes to The Pavilion to tip off SEC play.

 

It was an up-and-down non-conference season for the Rebels who lost three games at home, all of which came in overtime. Andy Kennedy has seen flashes of what he thinks this team can be, but the consistency has not been there at times. He's implored his group to play with a sense of urgency and not dig itself in difficult holes to climb out of early in games.

 

"I'm certainly not pleased with the fact that we lost three home games," Kennedy said. "I have said since 2006 when I got this job, that those are just no-no's. You can't do that because it is so difficult to win on the road."

 

There is reason to believe things could trend upward for Ole Miss in SEC play. It won its final two games before Christmas, concluding with the Rebels' most complete performance of the season in an 82-59 thrashing of a Bradley team that came into the game 10-2. The Rebels have shot the basketball better in their recent stretch of games. The team has made 26 three-pointers in its last two games and are shooting 45 percent from deep during that stretch.

 

Offense hasn't been the issue for the Rebels. Kennedy has said multiple times this team shares the ball better than any team he's been a part of in his tenure here. Ole Miss has 214 assists on 344 made baskets through 12 games. Decision making from the guards troubled the team early on. Kennedy saw signs of that improving of late.

 

"Deandre (Burnett) and Breein (Tyree) are making better decisions with the ball," Kennedy said. "Those are things we are going to have to do to win SEC games."

 

The majority of the team's struggles have stemmed from the defensive end, but even that appeared to be getting better during the final two games before the Christmas break. Bradley shot a pedestrian 32 percent from the field and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi shot 42 percent.

 

"I am encouraged that the guys are understanding who we are and that we have to be blue-collar," Kennedy said. "Sometimes it is hard to be blue-collar because it is hard. It is not easy. That is just the way we have to play. I think offensively we are finding a rhythm."

 

The SEC is deeper than it has been in a decade and has three teams in the top 25 and seven KenPom top 50 teams. The road will not be easy, and the team knows that but thinks they are beginning to play better basketball.

 

"We have a lot of things we need to work on," Terence Davis said. "But I think our mindset is now where it needs to be as a whole." 

 

A deeper league means a tougher path, but also one with more opportunities to notch resumé-building wins. Ole Miss will have a number of chances to strengthen its postseason case. The non-conference season brought some tough moments, but the Rebels are feeling better about themselves heading into their SEC schedule. 

 

"I do think we are beginning to understand the thin line between winning and misery," Kennedy said. "Unfortunately for us, I think we have been on the wrong side of that too many times to this point in the season. It really is a thin line, a play here or there. As we approach the holiday break, which is needed, we will come back and it is now SEC play. These guys will be excited about the opportunities."

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    Tiffany J. Moore said:

    This is amazing with what he have done so far! Hope that he'll achieve more in the future!

    in post Evan Engram Hauls in Midseason Accolades

    Fiftyyears fan said:

    How can you have five straight top 25 recruiting classes and look as bad as Ole Miss has this year. Easy lack of coaching fundamentals. Look at Mason at Vandy, nothing but 2 and 3 star recruits out of high school and he developers players that want to win. Hugh freeze has 3, 4 & 5 recruits and he expects them to win because of what they were in High School. Mr. Freeze you have not been teaching the fundamentals of football or winning in life. Mr. Freeze you have quit on your players because you have some false expectations of what they are instead of what you can develop in them. Either do your job or quit. Oh yea, please quit running your smoke and mirrors offense, everyone has figured it out. Run a physical offense that can open up holes for your running backs and then your pass attack want require 12 are 14 four and five star receivers. Mr. Freeze you have problems and you need to know that you are not smarter than the rest of the coaches in the SEC.

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    Karen Holden said:

    Not every pass can be caught. Too low, too short whatever. Not every Kelly pass is perfect. Records were broken by receivers also. But they sre not going to catch every ball thrown. The loss to Auburn was not one players fault. You win or lose as a team.

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    Trent browning said:

    Hey I was just wandering if these are the only 2 olemiss players signing. If there are more signing please respond to me ASAP. Also wondering if neil everett will sign any autographs. Thank you very much

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    Jamie laverty said:

    Bulmer I love you and ole Miss

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