A few thoughts from Ole Miss’ 65-62 win over Vanderbilt …
For starters, I like the Rebels’ SEC tournament draw. They get the Vanderbilt-MSU winner in a game that will start Thursday some time around 8:30 CT.
Vanderbilt has good players but has depth issues, which we saw at the end of the game Saturday. MSU has struggled to the finish.
That doesn’t mean the Bulldogs won’t come out and play as hard as they can against Ole Miss. In fact, they will have the knowledge that while they didn’t win many SEC games, they did beat Ole Miss.
An MSU-Ole Miss rematch would be another meeting for Marshall Henderson against the Dogs. There was only one this season, a big Rebels win in Oxford, after which MSU coach Rick Ray was captured by TV cameras mouthing unfriendly words to Henderson as he left the court. Henderson was also mouthing, but the camera wasn’t clear on what he might have said. Nothing like added drama for Mississippi’s SEC rivals.
If the Rebels win they face Georgia, a team against which they had a multitude of opportunities to win in Athens but failed to get it done in a one-point loss.
Back to Saturday’s game …
Henderson was genuinely emotional after the game. You could tell he’d been crying. He went out with a win, but he didn’t go out with a good shooting game and really hasn’t had one of those since he was 5-for-11 from 3 at Georgia on Feb. 15.
Since the Georgia game Henderson is 22-for-78 from 3, 28.2 percent. It’s no coincidence the Rebels have had issues down the stretch.
This team will go as far as Henderson or Jarvis Summers will take it. Anything else is, as we say at the newspaper, “bonus coverage” and really doesn’t happen enough.
Take Anthony Perez for instance. He was 0-for-3 and did not score Saturday. If he shows up, that game has a lot less drama.
The bigs still can’t shoot. They are what they are. The big question is what will they be next year? We’ve seen flashes. I think they will improve. If they don’t … if they’re not stronger, if they’re not more consistent at the rim, this team won’t be better in a year.
The Rebels really bothered Vanderbilt with their halfcourt trap. Anything you can do to pressure a team with depth issues is a plus for you. There will be a legs issue for Vandy if that’s who the Rebels face in Atlanta.
22-for-78 from 3-point range (28.2 percent).