Thursday, January 10, 2008

Rebs Return Home

John Brady brings his frowns and team back to Oxford this weekend. Brady and the Tigers have struggled this year. They are without a majority of their players who have been either hurt or academically ineligible. The Rebels should be able to handle the Tigers in front of a sell out crowd this Saturday.

I think Kennedy and his team will rebound well this weekend. As I stated yesterday they probably played the toughest game of the year on Wednesday. The LSU game is a nice fit in between two really tough opponents. I would think and hope they will be able to get up early and let some of those lower down the bench get some good minutes. I anticipate Jermey Parnell to be out and resting his ankle this game. With Parnell out some of those not normally in the game will get some reps. It is still an adventure with Malcolm White. White a highly touted freshman has not been all he was built up to be so far this year. I would also like to see Trevor Gaskins get some minutes in the LSU game and find his shot again. Gaskins opened up the year hot from beyond the arc and has cooled off alot recently. For the Rebs to continue to make a run, they will need as many shooters as they can in the SEC. Gaskins has the shot, he just needs to find it again. Zach Graham should also be able to get some quality SEC minutes to help him feel more comfortable.

It should be an outstanding crowd and bring back some memories of the good old days at the Tad Pad. For those few that will not be in Oxford this weekend, tip-off is at 5:00 on FSN South.


SEC HOME OPENER VS. LSU After suffering its first loss of the season with an 85-83 defeat at No. 8 Tennessee, No. 15 Ole Miss looks to bounce back with its SEC home opener against the LSU Tigers, who dropped a 61-39 decision at home to Mississippi State in their league opener. Wednesday’s loss halted the Rebels’ school-record start and winning streak at 13 straight. Ole Miss was up by four with just over two minutes remaining, but Tennessee made two baskets to tie it at 83 and the Rebels missed the front end of a one-and-one, setting up Tyler Smith’s game-winning bucket with four seconds left. Chris Warren led the Rebels with a career-high 24 points, Eniel Polynice added 20 and Dwayne Curtis posted his sixth double-double with 15 points and a season-high 13 rebounds.

SCOUTING THE TIGERS LSU lost its SEC opener by a 61-39 decision at home to Mississippi State, dropping the Tigers to 7-8 on the year. John Brady’s squad has struggled with consistency in a season riddled by injuries, most especially to top returning scorer Tasmin Mitchell, who may miss the rest of the year after surgery on a stress fracture in his foot. The Tigers have dressed either eight or nine players in the last two games. LSU suffered its second home loss to drop to 6-2 in Baton Rouge, while the team is just 1-6 away from home (0-4 on the road, 1-2 neutral). The Tigers average 68.5 points per contest, while allowing 66.6 per game. They have not cracked 70 points in six games and have twice scored under 50 during that span. Marcus Thornton tops the team with 17.1 ppg, while freshman Anthony Randolph chips in 13.6 ppg and a team-high 7.9 rebounds.

OLE MISS-LSU SERIES The series with the Tigers, which began in 1909, is the second-longest in Ole Miss basketball history. LSU leads the all-time series 113-79, although the Rebels hold a 13-11 edge in the last 24 meetings. Ole Miss won two-of-three encounters last season. After falling 62-55 in Baton Rouge, Clarence Sanders nailed a shot at the buzzer for a 71-70 win in Oxford. Ole Miss drilled the Tigers 80-60 in the second round of the SEC Tournament with a game-high 26 points from Bam Doyne. The Rebels hold a 49-32 lead in games played in Oxford and have taken 10 of the last 14 meetings at Tad Smith Coliseum. Second-year Ole Miss mentor Andy Kennedy also faced the Bayou Bengals as Cincinnati head coach in 2005-06, earning a 75-72 at the Las Vegas Holiday Classic.