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Ole Miss Men’s Basketball Plays Host to Alabama

By Adam Brown
Sports Editor

The Ole Miss men’s basketball team returns home to the SJB Pavilion to play host to the Alabama Crimson Tide on Wednesday. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. on SEC Network. 

Ole Miss (12-11, 3-7 SEC) is coming off a hard fought 62-57 loss at Florida on Saturday. 

“We played with unbelievable effort,” head coach Kermit Davis said. “Their competitive nature was some of the best it has been all year.”

The Rebels got senior guard Jarkel Joiner back on the court after back surgery against the Gators. 

“So proud of Jarkel,” Davis said. “By no means did we mean to play him that many minutes. For him to play that hard after a limited practice was pretty remarkable, really.”

Alabama (14-9, 4-6 SEC) rolls into Oxford after a tough stretch of back-to-back top-10 losses to No. 1 Auburn (100–81) and No. 5 Kentucky (66-55). However, those two contests followed a win over No. 4 Baylor (87-78) in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Jan. 29. The Crimson Tide was nationally ranked for each of the first nine weeks of the season, rising as high as No. 6 in the AP Top-25 on Dec. 13, and never ranking lower than No. 19 (Dec. 27), before dropping out of the rankings on Jan. 10.

Alabama stands as one of only two teams to have beaten NET No. 1 and AP No. 2 Gonzaga, taking down the Bulldogs 91-82 at the Battle in Seattle on Dec. 4. Alabama holds additional ranked victories over No. 14 Houston (83-82), No. 14 Tennessee (73-68) and No. 13 LSU (70-67).

“We look forward to playing a really good Alabama team,” Davis said. “It shows you about our league, if we beat them we are tied with them. A talented team that is well coached. They shot a lot of three’s.”

The Crimson Tide currently holds the nation’s toughest schedule by a wide margin at .734 to Kansas’ .676 opponent-winning percentage. Alabama currently owns an NET rating of 24, with a combined record of 8-7 against Quad 1 (6-6) and Quad 2 (2-1), and a 6-2 mark against Quad 3 with zero Quad 4 opponents.

Alabama’s success derives from a dominant presence on the offensive glass, leading the SEC and ranking sixth in the nation at 13.7 offensive boards per game. The Tide is lethal when given second chances, as they also hold the SEC’s third-best scoring offense at 80.2 points per game (18th NCAA) and the conference’s second-most threes made per game at 9.0 (44th NCAA). Alabama also holds a fearsome shot blocking effort on defense, the fourth-best in the SEC at 4.9 rejections per game (35th NCAA).

The Tide is led by All-SEC junior guard Jaden Shackelford, who leads the SEC in threes per game (3.0; No. 29 NCAA) and minutes per game (34.0), while also ranking fourth overall in scoring at 17.1 points per game. Alabama stands alongside Auburn as the lone schools with multiple SEC top-10 scorers, as Jahvon Quinerly’s 14.5 points per game currently ranks eighth in the conference.

This match will be the 183rd all-time meeting between the Rebels and the Crimson Tide. Alabama holds a 124-58 advantage in the all-time series. Ole Miss does have the upper hand in Oxford 44-39, including a 6-1 over the last seven meetings in Oxford dating back to 2010. Alabama enjoys a 6-4 spread over the last 10 meetings, including the last four in a row.

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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