Ole Miss basketball won’t enjoy the services of Cullen Neal or Sebastian Saiz next season, but Terence Davis will return after his barnburner of a year in Oxford. On Tuesday, the athletics department announced the non-conference slate for the 2017-18 season, and the Rebel hoopmen will kick off with the Louisiana Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns.
In addition to ULL, Ole Miss’ nine home games against non-SEC programs will include Georgia State, Virginia Tech (who they played in Blacksburg last year), and Sam Houston State, a noted big dance mainstay. The biggest name on the list is Texas, which fulfills the Rebs’ commitment to the SEC-Big 12 annual meet-and-greet.
For their November tournament, the Rebs will hit Las Vegas for the MGM Grand Main Event, along with fellow participants UNLV, Rice, and Utah. All three are very beatable clubs, and this could be the first in what seems like forever that an Andy Kennedy squad pulls off an early season tournament victory.
Here’s AK on the day’s announcement:
As our RPI has shown during my time here, we are committed to playing a challenging non-conference schedule ... It will be exciting to play nine non-conference games in front of Rebel Nation at The Pavilion, one of the best facilities in college basketball, and our games away from home will test our mental toughness. There's no doubt that this schedule will help prepare us for the grind of SEC play.
That Illinois State made it onto the schedule is heartily refreshing, since Kennedy, Ross Bjork and Illinois head man Dan Muller scheduled the game basically via Twitter. Let’s hope that they will in fact dub the home-and-home series the T-Ward Invitational to honor the legacy of former Kennedy and Muller assistant, Torrey Ward.
Ole Miss basketball 2017-18 non-conference schedule
Nov. 10, Louisiana Lafayette
Nov. 13, Northern Kentucky
Nov. 17, Georgia State
Nov. 20, Utah (Las Vegas MGM Grand Main Event)
Nov. 22, Rice/UNLV (Las Vegas MGM Grand Main Event)
Nov. 28, South Dakota State
Dec. 2, Virginia Tech
Dec. 9, at Middle Tennessee
Dec. 13, Sam Houston State
Dec. 16, Illinois State
Dec. 19, Texas A&M Corpus Christi
Dec. 22, Bradley
Jan. 27, at Texas