REBS SPOILING FOR VANDY
By Chris Burrows
When Ole Miss head coach Rob Evans looks at the Vanderbilt Commodores, he sees a vision for his club’s future.
“Vanderbilt has outstanding guard play. They handle pressure and shoot well,” Evans said. “We’d like to have that here on a consistent basis and we’re building towards doing so.”
The Commodores (14-8, 4-5) have used outstanding perimeter play to move into the upper half of the Eastern Division standings, trailing Kentucky and South Carolina. Vanderbilt is 2-3 on the road this season and a win in Oxford at 7 tonight would help toward earning a postseason berth.
Postseason is still part of the Evans plan for the future. As for now, “We have an opportunity to say a lot about who goes (to the NCAA Tournament and NIT) and who doesn’t,” Evans said. “We believe there are a lot of basketball games still to be won.”
The Rebels (8-11, 2-7) can play spoiler by continuing their recent improvement. Ole Miss has won three of the past five outings and could make a stronger late season move by finding a way to win close games. Ole Miss is 1-7 in games decided by five or fewer points.
“We’re not going to make excuses, ever,” said Evans, whose club features six freshmen or sophomores in the club’s seven-man rotation. “Being young makes it difficult, but there’s no excuses. We’re getting better, but we’ve got to get over the hump more often.”
The Rebels are led by freshman guard Keith Carter, who tops the club in scoring (14.4). Sophomore forwards Anthony Boone and Ansu Sesay lead in rebounding at 5.9 and 5.8 per game, respectively.
Vanderbilt features all-star guards Frank Sekar, a senior, and sophomore Drew Maddux. The pair average 15.9 and 15.4 points per game, respectively, and in Evans’ words, “give Vanderbilt one of the best tandems anywhere in the country.”