After Ole Miss put away a sloppy first half and eventually ran away with the opener against the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns, winning 94-76, I spent the rest of the night trying to sum up game one of the 2017-2018 Ole Miss basketball season in a few words. Well, I came up with more than a few.
DAVIS, DEANDRE, DOMINIK AND DEVONTAE DOMINATE DASTARDLY DAIQUIRI DRINKING DANDIES
REBELS REALLY RACE AND RAGE IN RAMBUNCTIOUS ROUT OF ROUX REVELERS
SHULER SHOOTS SUPERBLY SINGLE-HANDEDLY SINKING SUBPAR SOUTHERN SQUIRES
Alliteration aside - what a solid opening night for Ole Miss basketball.
A few really important notes from your boys here at the Cup:
- The students and fans showed up - More than 8,200 of you to be exact, and you were loud to the point the announcers commented on how lit it had gotten in the Pavilion. AND ITS NOVEMBER AGAINST LOUISIANA.
- 37 points from newcomers - AK and college basketball period has become an ever shifting landscape of transfers, young players leaving for international play/NBA and rosters that are overhauled in 6-8 months every year. To have a freshman, a JUCO transfer and two other D-1 transfers chip in for 40 percent of your scoring immediately is a great harbinger for how they will fit in this season.
- History says it will only get better - During the first half, I looked at my 18-month old and said, man if these guys can get in a flow offensively together, they will be a solid team. He promptly farted and laughed.
What's my point?
AK's team almost ALWAYS improve with time as they gel and figure out how to play together. Last season's 81-80 win over UT-Martin early on is in stark contrast to what we just took in.
Terence Davis and Deandre Burnett will be the veteran leadership of this team as they combined for 38 points. It was surprising to see Burnett come off the bench, but AK has been known to put veteran scorers on the bench from time to time to get a different look. Roster shuffling is going to be a constant until late December assuredly with some of the newcomers to this team.
Speaking of newcomers, Shuler clearly earned his minutes last night and took every advantage of them dropping 14 points on 5 of 7 shooting. The highly touted recruit has most likely raised expectations in Oxford in only 16 minutes of work.
Devontae Shuler is going to be a superstar— Ben Garrett (@SpiritBen) November 11, 2017
Marcanvis Hymon stepped up big in trying to fill the gaping shoes of Sebastian Saiz notching his third double double of his career with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Post play has been the continued knock on the Rebels entering this season, and if Hymon can produce some double-double nights and newcomer Dominik Olejniczak can fill the paint with his lengthy frame, guard play will carry the team further than expected.
Certainly, all is not perfect with this team, however. They had to erase a second half deficit to a Sun Belt team at home and did not play well for the first 25 minutes of the game. Their athleticism carried them defensively, which won't be something they can lean on in another month or so.
Also, very important note here:
MORGAN FREEMAN WAS LIT LAST NIGHT Y’ALL
But, for now, relish in the victory that matters. Louisiana will most likely win 20 games or more and could potentially become a top 100 KenPom team by season's end. The win will pay off and is just a great starting point for this motley crew of Rebels new and old.