By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
– Looking back: It wasn’t a good week for the Rebels. Needing two home-court wins, they got two losses, leaving just enough plays on the table to fall 82-78 to No. 17 Vanderbilt and 64-61 to Kentucky.
Freshman forward Reggie Buckner returned against Vanderbit from a sprained ankle that had kept him sidelined since Jan. 28. Buckner tweaked the ankle early in the second half against Vandy, and after an active start has been sporadic.
Post defense was again problematic. Opposing centers A.J. Ogilvy and Vernon Macklin were a combined 16-for-21 from the floor (76.1 percent). Florida was 25-for-27 from the free-throw line.
– Looking ahead: Home on Wednesday at 7 p.m. against Auburn and at Alabama on Saturday at 1.
– Who’s hot: Point guard Chris Warren remains the Rebels’ most consistent scorer, though he was held to 14 points against Florida. Even then, Warren was a respectable 5-for-11 from the floor. He was just 1-for-5 from 3-point range. Against Vanderbilt, Warren had 23 points, going 7-for-13 from the floor, 5-for-9 from 3-point range.
– Who’s not: Though there have been flurries of activity, guard Trevor Gaskins has not found a consistent shooting touch this season, and his playing time has decreased. Gaskins was 0-for-1 from the floor in eight minutes against Vanderbilt, 0-for-0 in two minutes against Florida.
– RPI watch: The Rebels begin the week with an RPI ranking of 60.
– Bottom line: Ole Miss needed two wins for the week to give itself a reasonable chance of making an NCAA tournament run. Now the SEC’s longest NCAA drought – the Rebels haven’t been since 2002 – will likely continue.