Following a 2-0 week in Knoxville, Tennessee will hit the road tonight to face the Ole Miss Rebels. Kermit Davis’ group has dropped two consecutive games, both coming on the road. They now draw a tough matchup against a Tennessee team that is finally looking like themselves again.
The Rebels are just 3-6 in conference play, with those wins coming over Mississippi State, Texas A&M and Auburn before Sharife Cooper arrived. Recent losses included Georgia twice, Arkansas, LSU and Florida.
“Well, obviously they have a whole new team from a year ago,” Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes said on Monday. “With Kermit and his teams—you go back to the beginning of the year they, have been playing great basketball. They are aggressive, they trap, they really work hard at turning you over and they do a terrific job of getting turnovers, and turning those turnovers into baskets. They are very active defensively and I really like the way they run their offense with speed.”
One key player that has returned is Devontae Shuler, a 6-2 senior guard out of Irmo, South Carolina. Shuler is averaging nearly 15 points per game and has taken over a lead role in Oxford this season.
Ole Miss ranks 66th in KenPom’s efficiency rankings, checking in at 123rd offensively and 24th defensively. Tennessee moved up to 15th in KenPom’s rankings, still holding the nation’s second-ranked defense.
With all of the pieces of the puzzle back to full strength (assuming Pons is good to go), let’s see if Tennessee can settle into a little bit of a groove now.
TV Channel: ESPN2
Location: Oxford, Mississippi
Tip-off Time: 7 p.m. ET
Streaming: Watch ESPN
Radio: Vol Network
Odds: Tennessee -3.5