Ugh. Did you watch this game?
I couldn't decide what was worse: how the Rebel offense operated or the quality of picture CSS beamed to my Birmingham home. Slight edge: CSS picture.
A win remains a win. Ole Miss now holds an 11-3 record overall with one final non-conference tilt on Wednesday in Dallas against Southern Methodist.
Sunday's 68-59 win over Southeastern Louisiana was a two-hour trip of frustration most likely for any Rebel basketball fan as you will see after the jump.There were a number of lapses on defense by the Rebels mostly in zone coverage that probably caught the eye of any Ole Miss fan watching the Sunday broadcast. Lions players made back door cuts and sneaked behind Rebel defenders on a few occasions, which is undoubtedly frustrating.
I take solace in the overall number of points the Lions scored in the game (59) as they averaged upwards of 72 points heading into the game. When the Rebel defense turned up the pressure in the last 10 minutes of the game, a decisive margin was attained.
The larger frustration Sunday was in the number of turnovers (13) by the Rebels compared to SELA (8). A -5 turnover margin against a team from the Southland Conference is not what should be expected at this point in the season. It almost completely negates a +8 rebounding differential in the Rebels favor.
On at least two occasions these turnovers came in transition with errant passes going out of bounds because of miscommunication or a lack of focus. If this was the first game the Rebels had played in a week, then it would be a little more understandable, but this was the second game in four days for Ole Miss.
Positives on Sunday:
1.) Terrance Henry and Reginald Buckner combining for 22 rebounds, 20 points, three personal fouls and four blocks in 64 minutes of total play. These two big men have begun to provide this kind of effort consistently heading into SEC play.
2.) Zach Graham's 14 points, 3 assists and 4 rebounds in 34 minutes of play was one of the deciding factors in this game in my opinion. Yes, Chris Warren led the team in scoring, but Graham just seems to find a way to grind out tough points every game. He's become a much better all around player this year.
3.) No Ole Miss player recorded more than 3 fouls. Not a huge positive but it is important when a mediocre team is threatening an upset to keep your best players on the court to seal the win. The Rebels were able to do that because of limited physical contact defensively.
Quick SEC West RPI update (via WarrenNolan):
Ole Miss: 69 (11-3)
Arkansas: 148 (10-2)
Alabama: 214 (7-6)
LSU: 229 (8-7)
Mississippi State: 251 (8-6)
Auburn: 335 (6-7)