Consecutive SEC wins have the Rebels playing some of their best basketball that we’ve seen this season. Ole Miss can make it three in a row as they take on Tennessee tonight on the road. Early season losses to Middle Tennessee, Virginia Tech and a shaky start to conference play means the Rebels have an uphill battle if they want to make it to the big dance. A win tonight would be a nice push on the way up that hill.
The Rebels defeated the Volunteers at home earlier in the season, behind a 12-2 run in the final three minutes of play. Terrance Davis led the way for the Rebels with 20 points, alongside freshman Breein Tyree’s 15 points. Since then Tyree has continued to play at a high level, giving the Rebels a point guard that helps the offense flow much more efficiently than it had in the early going of the season.
In the first matchup, the Volunteers took a 13 point lead in the second half, but the Rebels caught fire and stormed back. It’s important to remember that fighting your way back from a deficit that large is much easier at home. The Rebels travel to Knoxville tonight, so they must be mindful that climbing their way back may not be an option this time around. If Tennessee builds a lead, there’s no doubt that they will want to keep their foot on the gas after failing to hold the Rebels off last time.
In the victory over Vanderbilt on Saturday, five Rebels scored in double figures, and Sebastian Siaz turned in his 16th double-double on the year. Deandre Burnett scored 17, and while he was doing most of the scoring early in the year, the Rebels have figured out how to share the basketball and are reaping the benefits. The Rebel offense is quickly becoming a well-oiled machine that can hurt opposing defenses from anywhere on the floor.
All that being said, the Volunteers have become a much better team since their loss to the Rebels. Tennessee has won 4 of their last five including a win over then #4 Kentucky. They did fall on the road to Mississippi State in the last game, but this team is playing at a much higher level than the were before the first meeting at the Pavilion.
Tip-off from Thompson-Boling Arena is set for 5:30 and the game will be televised on the SEC Network. The Ole Miss Radio Network will also have the call.
Steven Gagliano is a writer for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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