That was a tough one to let slip away for Ole Miss yesterday, tough because the Rebels need an RPI win and won’t have many chances through conference play.
The Rebels have an RPI of 49 and could have won against No. 25 Tennessee. The Rebels have a game remaining against No. 51 Mississippi State. After MSU, the SEC’s next best RPI team – against which the Rebels have a good chance of success – is South Carolina at 66.
Kentucky is the SEC’s RPI leader at 12, but Ole Miss goes to Lexington in a couple of weeks, and right now it’s a stretch to think the Rebels will win at Rupp.
Right now the Rebels still struggle to guard very athletic post players. Tennessee’s Wayne Chism certain fits that mold, and he had 26 points and 12 rebounds in yesterday’s 71-69 UT overtime win. Chism was 10-for-10 from the free throw line and was a force in the overtime. Ole Miss led by 11 in the middle of the second half.
DeAundre Cranston and Reginald Buckner both fouled. The inability to guard without fouling puts the Rebels at a greater disadvantage when the game goes to overtime and is stretched beyond 40 minutes. Cranston did pick up 11 rebounds before he fouled out. The Rebels didn’t get much from Terrance Henry yesterday. Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy didn’t like that matchup, and Henry played just 10 minutes.
There were bright spots in the loss. Murphy Holloway against played well on the boards with seven rebounds.
Terrico White hit a groove with 17 points. He needs to find that groove more often in SEC play.
The guys who need to hit well from outside did just that. Chris Warren, Zach Graham and White all hit multiple 3s.
Warren was 5-for-13 behind the arc, 0-for-5 in front of it, an indication of the struggles he had getting to the rim and finishing against Tennessee’s talented guards.
Looks like fouls and matchups kept Trevor Gaskins from duplicating the success he had at Georgia where he was 3-for-3 from the arc. Gaskins finished with two fouls and didn’t put up a shot in 11 minutes.