Rebs Set to Take on Hogs
In what will be the last regular season home game of the 2007-2008 season, the Rebels are set to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks on prime time tv at the Tad Smith. This will be the last game for seniors Dwayne Curtis, Kenny Williams, Jermey Parnell and Brian Smith. None of the above are superstars but two will be missed next year. I feel like Curtis and Williams would probably not start for other SEC schools, but they fit in well with the system Andy Kennedy brought to Ole Miss. Some of the plays Curtis and Williams make down low amaze me in how they play out. Some of their plays have without a doubt been some of the ugliest attempts at layups you will ever see, but I can say we will miss these guys next year, as our post players will be lacking.
As far as the game on Tuesday. I truly expect the Rebels to win. I think they will come together for this last home game and rally to win. I expect the Rebels to win this game, to raise just enough talk about an NCAA Tourney bid to in return lose on the road at UGA on Saturday.
The crowd more than likely will be small and embarrassing on national tv, but that is what the current state of Ole Miss basketball is. Several bad games in which little effort was given and poor shooting performances have led to lack of interest in the current program.
REBELS FACE HOGS IN HOME FINALE Ole Miss makes its final appearance of the regular season in Tad Smith Coliseum and will honor its four seniors Tuesday night in a nationally televised contest against Arkansas on ESPN. Dwayne Curtis, Jermey Parnell, Brian Smith and Kenny Williams will be recognized for their careers in the Red and Blue in a pregame ceremony. Meanwhile, Ole Miss is in a dogfight for SEC Tournament positioning and is trying to maintain its chance for an NCAA Tournament bid. After Saturday’s 91-88 win over Alabama, the Rebels are 19-9 overall and sit in third place in the SEC West with a 5-9 league record. Ole Miss finishes the regular season Saturday at Georgia. If the season ended today, Ole Miss would be the No. 3 seed in the SEC Tourney and actually face UGA in the first round.
NCAA TOURNEY-WORTHY A school-record 13-0 start and 13 consecutive victories, a 4-3 record against teams currently ranked in the RPI top 50 and a 2-1 record against top-25 teams are all accomplishments that could help Ole Miss earn its first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2002. The Rebels’ record of 19-9 is the best mark through 28 games since that ‘02 team was also 19-9. Second-year Rebel mentor Andy Kennedy has pumped life into the Rebel team and fan base. Ole Miss places among the top 20 teams in the nation in scoring and top 10 in rebounding, putting up 79.0 points per game and pulling down 40.8 boards per contest. The Rebels were ranked among the nation’s top 25 for six straight weeks during December and January. They boast a 13-2 record at Tad Smith Coliseum, where they are averaging record crowds, and have gone 5-0 in neutral-site contests. In non-league action, Ole Miss went a perfect 14-0, including quality wins over No. 15 Clemson, South Alabama and New Mexico. Those three teams have a combined 65-19 record entering the week. The Rebels racked up an umblemished non-league record for the first time since 1948-49 and just the second time ever.
SCOUTING THE RAZORBACKS After getting through the first half of conference play with six wins and two losses, Arkansas is 2-4 in its last six league games and sits in second place in the SEC West with an 8-6 league mark. The Razorbacks own a 19-9 overall record. They are 6-1 at home in league play and 2-5 on the road in the SEC. They have dropped their last four road games, including their most recent two at Kentucky and Alabama by a combined eight points. Arkansas is led offensively by senior wing man Sonny Weems with 15.6 ppg. He has stepped up in SEC play for 18.9 ppg, which ranks third among league players. Sophomore Patrick Beverley adds 11.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, with 10.4 ppg and 8.7 rpg in SEC contests. As a team, the Hogs give up the third-fewest ppg in the league at 65.5 and allow just 68.4 ppg in conference play.