FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION TO ALL OLE MISS STUDENTS: This coming season, the Ole Miss men's basketball team will play their last ever five or so games in the C.M. Tad Smith Coliseum. The Tad Pad has hosted Rebel basketball since 1966 -- then Rebel Coliseum -- and you should become a part of leaky, failed-lighting history.
Last week, the Basketbears announced their non-conference schedule for 2015-16, and Andy Kennedy's rambling band will play a full eight of their first 13 non-conference matchups away from Oxford. Given that they'll switch over to the new Pavilion in time for SEC play, is it safe to assume that the Rebel roundballers are avoiding the Tad Pad in its final days, like, on purpose?
Ole Miss will host Georgia State on Nov. 25th and that's exciting, but the last game ever in the the Rad Pad invites Troy to town on Dec. 22nd. Troy? If one didn't know any better, one might suppose that the prospect of new digs in the form of the Pavilion at Ole Miss has produced a strong aversion to the old digs. One also couldn't blame the Rebs' scheduling people for electing to travel before the New Year, since the rare basketball-game-got-rained-out specter ever looms.
In truth, the Rebs' road trip owes something to their foray into the 2015 Charleston Classic, where they'll join a competitive field that includes Oklahoma State and Virginia. Looks like Thanksgiving week will also be "quality wins for an NCAA Tournament bid" week. There are also road trips to K-State, Memphis, UMass and SEMO.
As for the much-looked-forward-to unveiling of the Pavilion, Daniel Snowden, Associate Media-Relations Director for Men's Basketball, told me via email that "The anticipated opening date is January 2016 in time for SEC play." This squares well with the timeline and pace of construction we've seen so far, and it further allows some elbow-room for any last-minute touch-ups that should arise.
In the meantime, Randy Kennedy single-handedly poured the court foundation floor at the new arena, and it looks just spectacular.
Here's the complete non-con schedule. Away games are in bold.
Nov. 5 -- Clayton State (exhibition)
Nov. 13 -- Northwestern State
Nov. 16 -- Georgia Southern
Nov. 19 -- Gildan Charleston Classic (Charleston, S.C.)
Nov. 20 -- Gildan Charleston Classic (Charleston, S.C.)
Nov. 22 -- Gildan Charleston Classic (Charleston, S.C.)
Nov. 25 -- Georgia State
Nov. 28 -- at Bradley
Dec. 5 -- UMass (Springfield, Mass.)
Dec. 12 -- at Southeast Missouri
Dec. 15 -- Louisiana Tech
Dec. 19 -- at Memphis
Dec. 22 -- Troy
Jan. 30 -- at Kansas State