Day After Observations

I didn’t make the game last night, but it was a huge opportunity lost for Ole Miss.

I was awakened this morning when my phone went off with this message from a very confident LSU friend:

It’s at this point that I could kid Gary Perilloux about being a “walk-on” LSU fan who attended Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond. Thus the reference to Hi-Ho, a great local BBQ sandwich joint.

I tend to agree with the analysis, however. I’d take out the word “absolutely” because although things tend to be trending in that direction trends can change.

LSU is playing better than it was a month ago and is getting greater contributions from players who were in the game but not as productive back then.

Even with last night’s loss Ole Miss has won eight of its last 10. You can’t say a team that’s won 80 percent of its games over the last five weeks, a team that is 10-3 away from its gym, has no chance.

You can say that the Rebels haven’t always been at their best even when they’ve won some games.

It’s the shooting that needs to be more consistent. Andy Kennedy has called on his primary scorers to be more efficient. Rebounding has been there more times than not. This is about getting the sphere through the circle by players not named Stefan Moody.

Right now it’s Moody or bust for the Rebels, and Georgia limited Moody behind the 3-point line last night. He was 2-for-11 from the arc where he’d been 14-for-23 the previous two games.

Jarvis Summers was again 5-for-15. His struggles have been well documented. He’s better than he has been, less tentative, but there’s room for more improvement.

Even if Summers is more efficient this has to be about more than two players scoring. It certainly has to be about more than one.

Sebastian Saiz was good last night, 4-for-6 from the floor and had a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds. But Saiz isn’t going to take enough shots to dramatically alter a game. That’s not how this offense is structured.

It’s set up for LaDarius White to get a lot of shots and for other players to shoot from the perimeter.

Here’s a look at three of the Rebels’ primary reserves not including Terence Smith:

White: 7-for-31 over last four games, double figures in only two of last eight.

Anthony Perez: 2-for-13 over last three games.

Dwight Coleby: 3-for-12 over last four games.

Coleby was shooting 60 percent earlier this season. Like Saiz, he’s not going to alter the game dramatically, but every possession is important.

The bottom line is the Georgia loss won’t adversely affect the Rebels if they win a couple more games. There’s too much water under the bridge and this team has played its way into the NCAA tournament — right now. It can play its way out too.

I’ve said all along that after a 9-4 non-conference start this team needs to win a minimum of 12 SEC games to get in the tournament. As the season plays out that means Ole Miss must win two of its last three.

That’s a workable scenario even if the Rebels lose at LSU Saturday. The problem with only beating Alabama and Vanderbilt next week — the first on the road the latter at home — to get to your 12 wins is that you’re losing to Georgia and LSU that have been right behind you in the SEC standings. Those teams under that scenario are strengthening their resumes at your expense.

It’s too strong to say the Rebels have absolutely no chance in Baton Rouge. It’s hard to see them winning, however, if they can’t get out of the 30s in field goal percentage, and that’s something they’ve done just once in the last four games.

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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