On Wednesday night, a hobbled Ole Miss team rides a four-game losing streak into a home game against a .500 Auburn club. There is, however, something special about this otherwise humdrum matchup between likely NIT-bound squads: it marks three years and one day since The Trolling.
On Jan. 26, 2013, Marshall Henderson drew contact from Auburn's Shaq Johnson on a late inbound pass, drilled both of the ensuing free throws, then promptly rocketed over to the Auburn student section to create one of the most renowned masterpieces in the history of looping .gif media.
Ole Miss scampered out with a 63-61 win and the first 6-0 conference start in school history, and in the process ole Hendo catapulted to national prominence as college basketball's new shot-hucking villain. He celebrated the double feat of game-winning free throws and scalding-hot-rage instigation as only Marshall could, by double-barreling Coors Light at some house party or other.
At the time, Red Cup's own The Ghost of Jay Cutler eulogized Henderson's #YOUMADBRO thusly:
It was brash. It was confrontational. It was wholly unnecessary. And it was absolutely hilarious.
I mean, just look at how much they hate his guts during this beautiful moment. You've got the "get off of my lawn" guy up front in the orange Patagonia. There's the guy who thinks middle fingers are like pistols of fury in the top left just sorta aiming them at Henderson. Then a fathead flops down behind Mr. "FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU! GET THE FU--" and in front of Astonished Auburn Snuggie Girl. Mix that in with like eight bros who want to fight and a security guard who has suddenly found himself face-to-face with his new favorite SEC basketball player, and you've got what is easily the best Ole Miss basketball related gif in the history of both Ole Miss basketball and gif animation.
It's impossible to oversell the majesty of this looping video image. The star -- without doubt -- is the security guard, of course, but the gentlemen at the scorers table are so compelling in their hoo-boy-not-gonna-touch-that-one posturing. Extremely bearded and spectacled Michael McShane double is having the damn time of his life. This GIF holds more tragicomic balls in the air than a Coen film, and one daresay it's the perfect instance of the medium.
Here, by the way, is the full sequence:
Back to 2016
The 2016 installment of Ole Miss-Auburn basketball offers up a strikingly different matchup than the night Hendo went nuts. The Rebels have won nine of the last 11 meetings with the Tigers, including last year's 86-79 throwdown that saw Anthony Perez grinning wildly after drawing Jordan Granger into a late technical foul and ejection. Bruce Pearl may or may not have coughed his larynx onto Auburn Arena's floor in the process that night, which was the final time last season that Ole Miss appeared fully in command of its game.
At 9-9 (3-4 SEC), Auburn carries its own fair share of season struggles to The Pavilion on Wednesday night, matched only by the Rebs' current injury issues surrounding Sebastian Saiz, Martavious Newby, and possibly Stefan Moody again. Moody of course sat out Saturday's loss to Mississippi State, a game that really could have gone the other way if not for the loathsome inexperience that hounded Ole Miss at every position.
Auburn's game plan features excellent guard play, and Kareem Canty and T.J. Dunans play guard excellently. Canty in particular is averaging just shy of 19 points per game, while Dunans is currently landing 52.3 percent of his field goal attempts. To say nothing of senior forward Tyler Harris' 15.2 points and 8.1 rebounds per outing, the Tigers distribute well and share the scoring burden among six guys or so. Auburn also plays fast, running around 73 possessions per 40 minutes.
Ken Pomeroy's latest rankings must not have gotten the word on Ole Miss' injury report, because the Rebels slipped just seven spots to No. 112 after Saturday's loss. Auburn currently checks in at No. 158, but that seeming disparity evaporates in light of Auburn's 75.7 and Ole Miss' 75.5 points per game averages. This affair can and probably should get crazy in a hell of a hurry.
How to watch
Game Time: 6 p.m. CT
TV: SEC Network
Online Streaming: WatchESPN