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'Bama Brought Defense, Rebels Handed Another Loss

Alabama's defense is good, but Chris Warren just wasn't right on Saturday.

The deep 3's weren't falling. The drives to the basket didn't seem nearly as efficient or explosive.

As one of our commentors put it, "he was gassed."

It's not to say that our team wasn't 100 percent when we went up against Bama Saturday. Undoubtedly, the Tide could not have been in great shape either after playing in a hostile Vandy environment Thursday.

Warren's points were too little, too late. He only scored from the free throw line until roughly four minutes remaining in the game, which was well in hand by that point.

The Rebels did show resolve in the loss, however, which could point to a possible run in its remaining six games and SEC Tournament. It's just to keep your hopes alive – it's basketball, anything can happen.

Zach Graham showed what a good contributor he can be during the first half of this game. He also showed how inconsistent his scoring can be in the second half. His 11 points kept Ole Miss from being held nearly completely scoreless in the abomination known as the first half. 

The Rebels had an inability to pick up perimeter shooters from its zone defense. Bama operates a version of the drive and dish offense collapsing zones and leaving perimeter shooters or inside bigs open for easy shots. The zone, in theory, should rotate and coverage assignments partially cover these shots.

It didn't happen, and Bama made their shots - 53 percent in the first half and 47 percent for the game.

Dundrecous Nelson's 3 for 7 shooting from behind the arc pulled the Rebels closer in the second half, as the Jackson product scored 11 points on the game. Nelson has seriously shown not only some offensive talent this season, but also the ability to lead the team when Warren is not in the game. His next three years will be very interesting to watch, I hope.

Poor ball security plagued the Rebels throughout Saturday's game. Bama recorded 10 steals on the day, and it seemed like there was very little offensive cohesiveness throughout. Whether this was Bama's fantastic defense or the Rebel's ineptitude is left to the eyes of the beholder. I'm fairly certain I called for Andy Kennedy's head at least 10 times during the game.

The loss brings Ole Miss to 16-9 for the year with a 4-6 conference record. With some winnable SEC Western division games ahead and South Carolina in Columbia, it is still a possibility for the Rebels to finish around 9-7 in conference play.

The race for second in the SEC West will come down to the Rebels, Mississippi State and Arkansas for the valuable bye in the first round of the SEC Tournament. Wins against the Hogs and Dogs down the stretch would be gold at this point for a better shot at an SEC tournament title (assuming Vandy, Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee don't care about winning it).