Man, how stressful was it worrying about being a "bubble team" for the NCAA Tournament and frettin' over "must win" games over the past few weeks? And all that work talking about this team's talent and style and tournament potential? Ugh, and all the hoping and wishing for Jelan Kendrick and Jarvis Summers to develop!? So glad that's over, right?
Removing my tongue from the inner lining of my cheek for a moment, Thursday night was not a game many of us expected to win. On both FWtCT and here, we predicted Rebel losses. Mississippi State is a talented team which rarely loses at the Hump (even though, as I type this, they're losing to Georgia). Add to that the team and fan bases' general irrational disgust of anything Ole Miss related, and you saw a game which we would have needed a minor miracle to pull off. Yeah, it wound up being more embarrassing than it should, but such is Ole Miss basketball under Andy Kennedy.
On to tonight.
Ole Miss returns to the Tad Pad to take on an Auburn team to which it previously and inexcusably lost to in double overtime on the Plains of Alabama. Auburn is, for the lack of a better term, a bad basketball team. They have a 13-11 (3-9) record, and are one of the worst offenses statistically in the Southeastern Conference with the 12th overall scoring offense, the 11th overall scoring margin, 11th overall free throw percentage (GUESS WHO IS 12th!), 11th overall in field goal percentage, 11th overall in three-point percentage, and... ok, look, you get the point. They don't so much "score points" in basketball.
Auburn is led by Frankie Sullivan and Kenny Gabriel, both of whom average just over 12 points per game. Gabriel also leads the team in rebounds and blocks. Varez Ward leads the team in assists., Chris Denson leads the Tigers in three-point percentage. Those are your names to look out for tonight.
Still, if Ole Miss can just play up to potential, Auburn will struggle to keep this one winnable. If I'm going to venture a prediction, I'd say Ole Miss 65, Auburn 58. What really matters is, with this win, Ole Miss will be 5-5 in the SEC and clinging on to a spot right around the middle of the conference standings. If Ole Miss can put itself in position to win a game or two in the SEC tournament, then who knows what can happen at that point.
OPEN THREAD IS BELOW, IF YOU CARE AT ALL
[Oh, and Rebel baseball season starts in earnest this Friday as Ole Miss travels to Fort Worth to take on the TCU Horned Frogs. Expect Cup coverage, y'all.]