After losing a heartbreaker to the LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge, the Tennessee Volunteers now travel down to Oxford, Mississippi to take on the Ole Miss Rebels.
The Rebels are a tough team to figure out. At one point, they won 10 straight games, including wins over the then-ranked Auburn Tigers and Mississippi State Bulldogs. Since that streak, however, the Rebels are just 6-6 with no wins against ranked teams.
New head coach Kermit Davis has done a very good job in his first season, but his squad needs to finish out strong in order to obtain a good seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Will the run begin on Wednesday against the Vols?
Conference Record and Standings
- Southeastern Conference
- 19-8 (9-5)
- 4th SEC
- Won last game
- G Breein Tyree: 18.4 PPG, 48.0 FG%, 83.1 FT%, 40.0 3PT%, 3.1 REB, 2.7 AST, 2.6 TO, 1.1 STL, 33.7 MIN
It’s easy to see why Tyree is the best player on this team. He is an offensive threat from anywhere on the court and isn’t afraid to take the big shot when it matters.
Against LSU, the Vols struggled to contain Tremont Waters’ replacement in Javonte Smart, so there is some room for concern as to how they’ll contain Tyree.
But if Jordan Bone or Lamonte Turner can lock him down, it’ll be hard for the Rebels to find offense in other places. Only two players average double digits when it comes to scoring and Tyree is one of them.
- G Terence Davis: 15.6 PPG, 46.1 FG%, 75.0 FT%, 38.1 3PT%, 5.9 REB, 3.4 AST, 2.9 TO, 1.7 STL, 30.0 MIN
Obviously, Davis is the other player I was talking about that averages in the double digits.
He decided to enter the NBA Draft in 2018, but didn’t hire an agent to preserve the ability to return to the Rebels if things didn’t work out as planned.
And here we are. Davis is having a career under Kermit Davis. The decision to return Ole Miss continues to pay dividends.
The Vols may have more trouble with Davis than they do Tyree. While both need to be shut down, it’s almost guaranteed one of these two players will have a big night on Wednesday.
Tennessee could be in big trouble if it is in fact Davis who decides to ball out.
Ole Miss escaped the Georgia Bulldogs with a 72-71 win last Saturday. Breein Tyree scored 14 of his game-leading 17 points in the second half to get the Rebels a much-needed win against a SEC opponent.
It took a missed last second shot from the Bulldogs to seal the win, but at this point in the year, teams will take what they can get.
But it was disheartening for both the Rebels and their fans to watch the Bulldogs come out of halftime and erase a 10-point deficit thanks to a 14-2 run. Despite the comeback, Ole Miss was able to secure the win thanks to a long three from sophomore Devontae Shuler with 1:22 remaining in the game.
The Rebels forced 19 total turnovers - including 12 in the first half. Eight of those 19 turnovers were steals and three players finished with at least 13 points.
Despite the score, it was a team effort and hard fought victory that should help the Rebels set the Vols in their crosshairs.
Usually, I’d have faith that Tennessee will enter this game focused and ready to go, but their play as of late has me thinking otherwise.
This is a tough matchup. Granted, Ole Miss has been inconsistent as of late as well, but Tennessee is a far cry from the team that held the number one spot in the country for a month.
But Ole Miss doesn’t possess the size that Kentucky or LSU does, which plays into Tennessee’s hands. Ole Miss is more of a fast-paced, transition team - which matches up well with the Vols.
Regardless, if Tennessee doesn’t bring its best game, then there will be another mark in the loss column and the questions about how good this team really is will begin to rise to the surface.