Saturday, January 28, 2023

Ole Miss Prepares to Face Mississippi State in Starkville

By Adam Brown
Sports Editor
adam.brown@hottytoddy.com

Ole Miss men’s basketball team hits the road on Saturday as they travel down to Starkville to take on in-state rival the Mississippi Bulldogs. Tipoff is set at 1 p.m. inside the Humphrey Coliseum and can be seen on CBS.

“Look forward to the biggest game on your schedule every year, twice (a year),” Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis said at a press conference on Friday. “A nationally televised game on CBS — one of the most heated rivalries in our country that we play and we will have a great crowd.”

Ole Miss (8-6, 0-2 SEC) and Mississippi State (11-3, 0-2 SEC) come into this matchup looking for their first win in conference action after both teams have faced No. 7 Alabama and then No. 7 Tennessee to start the SEC slate.

“Chris (Jans) has done a great job with his team,” Davis said. “They are like us. They have played the same two top 10 opponents as we have in Tennessee and Alabama.”

Davis added that it’s going to be a good game and that both teams are looking to get into the win column in the SEC and get their season underway.

The Rebels are coming off an 84-62 loss at Alabama on Tuesday night.

“(Against Alabama) I didn’t think we had the physicalness defensively that we did against Tennessee,” Davis said. “I give Alabama credit they are a shot-making team and even some guys that had been struggling made some shots.”

Davis added that the team out-rebounded the Crimson Tide by 10 and had a great effort on the glass.

Coming into Saturday’s game the Rebels are healthy, according to Davis.

Mississippi State opened the season with 11-straight wins highlighted by wins over Marquette, Utah, and Minnesota, the Bulldogs have been ranked as high as 15th in both the AP and coaches polls this season.

The Bulldogs are led offensively by senior forward Tolu Smith averaging 14.4 points per game and a team-best 8.0 rebounds per game.

“Mississippi State is a really good defensive team,” Davis said. “They are a really disruptive team they play 1-3-1 and 2-2-1 with a bunch of switching and trapping around the goal. So, they make you play in an unconventional way.”

The Bulldogs hold their opponents to an average of 56.9 points per game while its offense averages 67.1 per night.

“Our team really has to play with ball security and get downhill — when you get the opportunity you’ve got to take advantage of it,” Davis said.

Saturday will be the 267th all-time meeting between the two programs. Mississippi State owns the overall series 147-119, the Rebels hold a slight advantage in the last 20 matchups, 12 games to eight.


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