The Rebels take on the South Carolina Gamecocks tonight in the second round of the SEC Tournament. Jim Lohmar has called it a must-win game. It's certainly looking that way. The Rebels have limped down the stretch to take the conversation away from what seed they'll end up with to whether they're tournament material at all.
And so the Rebels (20-11) take on the Gamecocks (16-15) in a game they can't lose. In their only previous matchup, on January 10th, Ole Miss easily handled South Carolina, winning 65-49. In that game, South Carolina couldn't get anything going, shooting just 36% from the field and 20% from three. Jarvis Summers scored twenty, Stefan Moody added sixteen, and Martavious Newby didn't attempt a shot in 20 minutes (though he did contribute in other ways). I would guess Ole Miss would take those stat lines again tonight.
For South Carolina to win tonight, they would have to keep the score low. The Gamecocks are 233rd in scoring, while the Rebels are 49th. They also would need to stifle Stefan Moody like teams have started doing recently. Both of those things are quite possible.
Something the Rebels have going for them though is that South Carolina doesn't shoot the three ball well. They're making just 29% of their attempts from beyond the arc this season. Compare that to the Rebels making 35%. That may not seem like a big difference, but it is.
To win, the Rebels will have to play more disciplined defense than they have recently. They'll have to move with purpose on offense, and get the ball into the hands of their best offensive players more than they do. South Carolina isn't likely to be able to punish defensive lapses as much as Vanderbilt did, but they still can't leave players wide open.
If the Rebels continue to look directionless on offense, though, they could certainly lose this game.
When: 9 ET / 8 CT
TV: SEC Network
Internet: WatchESPN / Probably nefarious methods