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Ole Miss basketball returns to the Mississippi Coliseum with a 69-47 win

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The Rebels’ return to the Big House sends us down memory lane.

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Of all the coliseums in the world, the Mississippi Coliseum, much to my protests, wouldn’t crack the top 25,000 in the AP World Coliseum Poll, but on Wednesday night, it found itself ranked number one in places Ole Miss was currently playing basketball. Because the BasketRebs whipped off a 69-47 W against a directional Louisiana club.

It’s unlikely the Rebels’ very nice (NICE) 69-47 win over Southeastern Louisiana will leave a lasting impression on par with the time Garth Brooks, at the peak of his powers, rolled into the Coliseum for three consecutive nights of shows in 1996 as part of a world tour that lasted two and a half years (!!!!), but let’s not rule out the effect of Ole Miss holding the Lions (really?) to two made three pointers in 17 attempts. It could have staying power!

In case you missed the memo, it was the first time Ole Miss crossed the Coliseum’s threshold in 11 years. The last time the Rebels made an appearance on those hallowed grounds was in 2007. when Andy Kennedy’s team defeated Winthrop 76-71 and cries of STREETBALL were just underway.

JACKSON, Y’ALL. BASKETBALL.

The Big House, as it is affectionately known, is home to the final stages of Mississippi high school basketball’s state playoffs, but it hasn’t seen a great deal of HEATED December non-conference basketball action. Ole Miss’ absence has been noted, though Mississippi State has played there regularly in recent years, and Southern Mis—lol jk zero chance I’m spending one second looking up anything about Southern Miss basketball.

[large breath]

Though the Coliseum may not get many chances to showcase a state school trashing a non-conference team or acts outside of the Dixie National Rodeo and Disney on Ice, the building has, you know, seen things over the years, man.

BASKETBALL IN JACKSON, Y’ALL.

For starters, when it opened in 1962, the ad wizards who built it did so on top of a DAGGUM VOLCANO. Fortunately for those who have regular appointments to watch the rodeo’s bull riding or Cinderella drop a triple axel on her stepmother, the volcano is estimated to have been extinct for 66 million years, which sounds EXACTLY like what an extinct volcano would say.

BASKETBALL, BUT JACKSON, Y’ALL.

While the stream of entertainment acts to perform there has tailed off, look at the list of past acts. I mean, LOOK AT IT.

Fine, you won’t click the link so here’s a quick sample of who has entertained the people over the years:

  • AC/DC
  • Boyz II Men
  • Cher
  • Elvis
  • Ginuwine (obligatory, click this now)
  • Guns N’ Roses
  • Heart (YOU DAMN RIGHT)
  • MC Hammer
  • Prince
  • REO Speedwagon (no one wants to follow that!)
  • The Beach Boys
  • Vanilla Ice (absolutely was in a Miami Hurricanes jersey)
  • Willie Nelson

Additionally, there’s the professional wrasslin’ shows, monster truck rallies, and my personal favorite, the four seasons it was home to a minor league hockey team. Again, a minor league hockey team for four seasons. In Mississippi.

The Jackson Bandits made their Mississippi debut in 1999 after being brought from Maryland by a local sports management group. In perhaps the most Mississippi thing possible, one of the group’s primary owners was Bernie Ebbers, former president and CEO of WorldCom, who eventually had to sell his interest in the team because he was on his way to spending 25 years in a federal penitentiary for fraud and conspiracy to the tune of $11 billion.

CORRUPT HOCKEY BARON IN THE DEEP SOUTH ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED.

In 2003, one year after Ebbers’ departure from the scene, the Bandits folded, Fortunately, I was able to attend a game before the Bandits — who burned too brightly for this world — sank into the volcano.

The only memory I have of the game is this: there was a massive fight between the teams, which sent all of us in the crowd into delightful insanity. Hockey fight hollerin’ is one of the better forms of hollerin’.

The penalty box was filled with players who lacked their helmets, jerseys, pads, and sticks because those items were all over the ice. The referees had to scoop all of this equipment in their arms, then opened the penalty boxes and dumped everything just inside the door. Y’know.

HOCKEY REFEREES MAD ABOUT DOING HOUSEKEEPING ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED.

While the Big House’s better days are likely in the rear view mirror, it would a good thing if Ole Miss made a trip there a regular event. Attendance at Wednesday night’s game wasn’t great, but it’s the first year of the Kermit Davis era and enthusiasm around Ole Miss athletics right now is — clears throat, leans head back, shouts — NOT GREAT, BOB.

Make it more of an event, rather than come watch Ole Miss play because it’s $5 and close to your house, and let’s see what happens.

If anything, Ole Miss can add “played yet another game on top of a volcano and were not incinerated” to the basketball media guide.

The Rebs won by 22 points over a lesser opponent on neutral ground. Let’s see where that carries them in March.