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Ole Miss will meet South Carolina with simmering player issues

Deandre Burnett is injured and Nate Morris is dismissed. Helluva week for Andy Kennedy’s men.

NCAA Basketball: Mississippi at Florida Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

Deandre Burnett’s injury during the Georgia game last week dug an insurmountable hole against the Bulldogs that night, to the point that this season’s Basketbears suffered one of the most embarrassing losses in program history at home. Now the Rebel hoopmen travel to Columbia, S.C. to face the conference’s best defensive club not wearing FLORIDA jerseys.

Burnett was of course averaging around 19 points per game, good for the third-best scoring average in the conference. He didn’t connect all that much against Georgia though, on the whole during game play, still somehow gaining the majority of his points from the free throw line.

Now, the Rebs don’t have that agile bowling ball, and their other scorers around Burnett are streaky, at best. Further, never mind that freshman forward Nate Morris was dismissed this week, following a driving-with-suspended-license-at-incredibly-stupid-speed charge, not to mention his Nov. 19 arrest for speeding and DUI. Good stuff, my dude. Anyway, Morris is gone. Bye, Nate.

Ole Miss basketball is low-key plagued by “controversy,” which will undoubtedly be discussed Saturday night. Basketball is merely ancillary.

Freshman forward Nate Morris is gone.

Not that he factored into Ole Miss’ regular game-plan, but still.

Antonio Morales of the Clarion-Ledger reports that freshman forward Nate Morris has been dismissed from Andy Kennedy’s club following his second automotive infraction while rostered. Morris played no more than 10 minutes per game — while registering no points — this season, and his dismissal comes as his second infraction after missing the first eight games this season for another team violation. Bye, Nate.

Ole Miss rolls into Columbia hampered by personnel issues.

Deandre Burnett is was the SEC’s third leading scorer, and Ole Miss will undoubtedly suffer for his absence. His propensity for getting to the line out-gains all Basketbears, who outside of Terence Davis and Sebastian Saiz seem to have an aversion to going to the rim. Saturday’s bout in Columbia should be interesting.

With Burnett gone, then, cut out one third of the Rebs’ offensive attack, and well, shit. Rasheed Brooks can only get hot against the Davidsons of the world. Terence Davis plays musical chairs with opponents — who’s he gonna explode against? — and who the hell is gonna run true point for AK’s men? Cullen Neal? Please, no. Not that Burnett wanted to play at the 1-spot; he shouldn’t, anyway.

Burnett’s 19 points per game will be severely missed in Columbia on Saturday. Team leader Sebastian Saiz scored just 11 points upon three rebounds against a beatable Georgia club. That’s a horrible regression for a team’s leading scorer and rebounder who’s AVERAGING a double-double, especially considering Terence Davis’ pedestrian 12 points against Georgia, which didn’t supplement Ole Miss’ lackluster effort whatsoever in Oxford.

Anyhow: with Burnett hobbled, AK and company must brainstorm other and new scoring threats around the floor. Terence Davis can attack the rim like hell, so why not let him take flight when he sees it? Saiz can tool his way around the paint, so why not let him push after the basket? Who the hell knows what Rasheed Brooks can do? Let him take some shots and heat up, and if that doesn’t happen he’s a perfectly good decoy.