A pair of thrilling comeback wins over Auburn and LSU led many to believe, or at least hope, that Ole Miss was finally breaking away from its typical state of hovering around .500 in conference play. Arkansas, a solid team in their own right, had different plans, as they dominated the Rebels in an 18-point win.
Fortunately, they’ll be facing a Mississippi State squad that’s dealing with their own issues, having lost four games in a row and holding the SEC’s third worst in-conference record of 5-9. That doesn’t make Tuesday’s contest any less of a challenge — the Rebels have won just once in Starkville in the past six seasons, the only time coming against a baaaad Rick Ray-coached team from two years ago. Just like in football, this matchup can be a bit unpredictable.
State’s numbers suggest they’re slightly better than their overall record, as their net rating isn’t too far off from the Rebels’. Still, Ole Miss is supposedly closer to finding an identity that (mostly) works, so leaving that awful town with anything other than a convincing win would be a disappointment.
One of the few signs of encouragement from Saturday’s loss was Deandre Burnett’s renewed efficiency from all over the floor (27 points on 11 shots). His shooting, combined with the freight train that is (second half) Terence Davis could prove to be an overwhelming tandem for the Bulldogs. Sebastian Saiz will look to return to form, having shot just 33 percent from the field over the last five games.
The blowout from a few weeks ago had less to do with a great shooting night than simply taking care of everything else, including creating second chances with 14 offensive rebounds. The Bulldogs aren’t exactly lacking in firepower — they had one of the best shooting performances any team’s had against a stout South Carolina defense two weekends ago. They’re certainly a threat to light up Ole Miss from deep, considering the Rebels have let their past three opponents shoot 40 percent or better from beyond the arc.
If we screw this up, at least there’s baseball.
How to watch:
Where: Starkville, MS (ew)
When: 8:00 PM CT
TV: ESPN 2
Online Streaming: WatchESPN