Day After Observations

Notes and thoughts after the Rebels’ 60-58 loss to South Carolina …

Having seen replays of both of the last fouls called in the game I’d say both were good calls and were consistent with the way the game was called.

Chances are Tyrone Johnson doesn’t hit the desperation heave if LaDarius White doesn’t foul him, but you never know.

Chances were much better that Johnson, an 83.7 percent free throw shooter, would hit at least two of three to win the game. He hit all three.

Whether White ends up being remembered for the foul that kept the Rebels out of the NCAA tournament remains to be seen.

The bracket chatter immediately after the game still had Ole Miss in the field. That may mean Dayton, but ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, posting to his blog minutes after the game, had Ole Miss among his last four in. CBS’ Jerry Palm chimed in after that and also had the Rebels among his last four in.

That’s as of right now, of course, and how the Rebels stand Sunday at 5 when bid are announced depends in large part on what else happens around the country.

It’s out of the Rebels’ hands right now.

The question is does this team really want to play in the NCAA tournament? It doesn’t look like it.

The answer, of course, is yes. Every team with a fraction of a chance wants to land in the tournament, but Ole Miss doesn’t look like an NCAA team right now.

Whether the Rebels get there or not – fortunately for them – is determined by a season-long body of work. For much of this season Ole Miss looked like a team that could be dangerous in March Madness.

That’s not how it looks now.

Right now every offensive possession is painful to watch.

The shooting struggles of Jarvis Summers have been well-documented. Even though he hit a four-point play last night that looked like it would give Ole Miss a win it didn’t really deserve he was still just 3-for-10 from the floor and had six of the Rebels’ 21 turnovers.

Before Summers’ big shot he and Moody were a combined 5-for-24 from the floor.

Moody was 14-for-23 from 3-point range in wins over Mississippi State and Tennessee en route to SEC player of the week honors. In the five games since then he’s 7-for-38 from 3 (18.4 percent) and Ole Miss is 1-4.

South Carolina, like several teams have done of late, used a bigger guy to chase and harass the 5-foot-10 Moody. He says that didn’t bother him, but he never found a rhythm. He rushed shots, and that carried over to his mid-range game too. Usually he has that going for him when he’s not hitting from the perimeter, but South Carolina did not let him get loose in the lane.

Moody is a known commodity now. He’s at the top of teams’ scouting reports, and it looks like the pressure is affecting him.

With so much on the line for Ole Miss the Rebels simply didn’t play well on offense. It’s a common theme, as Andy Kennedy noted in his postgame.

They held South Carolina to 30.4 percent shooting, but in a game in which the Rebels’ trailed for 35:55 they had four straight chances to take the lead in the second half.

Finally they did on two White free throws with 6:04 left, but even then they couldn’t gain separation against a team that was also struggling on offense.

The bottom line is this team may make the NCAA tournament. Every player and every coach of a struggling team is in constant search of the next opportunity to turn things around. Maybe that comes in the big tournament, but right now Ole Miss isn’t playing like a team that will last past the first game if it gets there.

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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  • Flareb

    That’s the life of an Ole Miss fan. Snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Ross has to change the culture of the basketball program. Something with Andy is missing. It almost as though he wanted his buddy Frank Martin to win the game more than Ole Miss. PA to say it is painful to watch Rebs on offense is very understated. Zero creativity and zero energy and zero leadership!!! They don’t deserve to be in the field quite honestly.

    • Lee814

      I agree completely! The results of the last few weeks show that the Rebels do not deserve to go to the big dance. For a few weeks the Rebels appeared to be a really good team. There is no doubt talent in this group. However, just as in past years, there is much inconsistency on the court. The last few weeks the Rebels have looked terrible! This has been the case throughout Kennedy’s career at Ole Miss. I know he has won a lot of games. But he has not won the crucial games and his teams are always inconsistent throughout the season. It usually appears he is just letting the team play and not truly coaching them. He does not know how to motivate them in the crucial situation. The team has talent, but there is no leadership!

  • Parrish Alford

    They may make the tournament based on numbers and what happens with the rest of the nation. The question is what type of team would Ole Miss take to the NCAA tournament? Not a very good one right now.

  • agingbiker

    My apologies if this winds up in fragments, multiples or only a blank. I’m old and can’t readily adapt to newfangled methods of communication. I remember when retractable, ball point pens were new!

    Anyway, I’m a basketball fan, not student of the game and certainly no authority. Like most anyone I do have opinions.

    They begin with, in no particular order #1) there are no bad coaches at this
    level. #2) better players make better coaches. #3) close games, wins
    or loses, are mostly decided on the court not on the sidelines –
    Henderson’s game tying shot vs Vandy a couple years ago and Moody’s shot
    in this year’s win at FL, the loss to AR at Oxford (and was it @ LSU?-
    missed free throws come to mind).

    #4) By the time you play 1/2 way through an 18 game conference schedule, good coaches have determined how to neutralize your most consistent offensive weapon – Moody this year. This year that certainty coincided with the appearance of Summers’ lack of offensive confidence and, what seems to to me as a fan,Snoop’s career inconsistency. When he’s good he’s very good, but …… Nevertheless, I still like Snoop. #5) Offensive inconsistencies
    are more common that defensive ones, but fans generally get more
    excited about offense UNLESS you lose.

    #5) My last opinion today, if the Big Dance is in the near future, I expect the Rebels to show up better than they did last night. Twenty plus turnovers? I can’t remember such numbers since Tim Jumper (with a torn up knee and wearing a 7 pound knee brace) was forced into playing point against one of Wimp Sanderson’s better teams.

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