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This Week in Ole Miss basketball: Kerm is back in town

Smashville better stock up on tea.

Josh McCoy-Ole Miss Athletics

Ole Miss basketball is now a third of the way through its season, and the first year of the Kermit Davis era is already turning a few heads in Mississippi.

The Rebels are sitting at 8-2 not necessarily with a lot of marquee wins, but any fan who has regularly watched this program the last few years should see the increased defensive intensity and consistent play.

Last week, Ole Miss had another perfect week going 2-0 and pushing a winning streak to five games.

Rebels Tame Lions in Circus Tent Coliseum.

The Mississippi Coliseum looks a lot like an overblown circus tent that should be temporary shelter but somehow no one ever took it down.

Southeastern Louisiana was overmatched from the get go, and Devontae Shuler hit them for 19 points in the Rebels first game in the state capital in 11 years. Terence Davis chipped in 15 points to move to 30th on the all-time scoring list.

The Rebels were expected to win this game and show out in the process, and they did not disappoint holding SELA to 47 points, which was the lowest for an Ole Miss opponent since 2015 (Missouri).

Coach Davis hinted at this Jackson game becoming a more regular thing in the post-game interview, and if it means 22-point victories, I don’t see anyone minding the Jackson game annually.

Santa Claus, Cousin Eddie, and Chattanooga Domination.

I sat down in section 107 Sunday night early to feast on some Raisin’ Canes, and I was fairly impressed by the turnout nearly an hour before the game.

Kids were seeing Santa in the entrance to the Pavilion, “Mo Bamba” was bumping for pregame shoot around, and limited edition “Christmas Vacation”-themed Ole Miss ornaments were in hand. This was at least in my experience one of the better executed promo nights for basketball in years.

The crowd was not rowdy from the start, but a 28-0 run in the second half brought them to life after the Rebels dug themselves into a 6-point deficit — 45-39.

Breein Tyree, T. Davis and Shuler all started draining three’s and next thing you know, the Rebels are sitting at 51-45, then Bruce Stevens is dunking on fools and its suddenly 67-45, and Christmas has truly come early to Oxford.

Tyree and T. Davis both scored 20 points, the team shot 61 percent from the field, and they logged 11 steals to give them a 15-0 fastbreak scoring advantage. The first half was not inspiring, but this team is surprisingly good enough to turn it on and outpace a mismatched team.

It was a beaut, Clark. A real beaut.

New Phone, Who Dis?

Coach Davis broke up with Middle Tennessee State after a long relationship. MTSU may still get a little drunk and text him at night, longing for him to be back.

But he’s got a new, hot, upgraded program, and now it’s time for him to show it off.

The Blue Raiders are 3-8 and sitting at No. 250 in the latest KenPom rankings. It has clearly fallen on hard times, and undoubtedly, this game will be emotional for some players.

That being said, MTSU has played a tough schedule with top ten Virginia, Stanford, Vanderbilt and Butler, so if nothing else they are battle tested yet not victorious in these games.

If the Rebels were going into Murfreesboro, this game would be more concerning, but the game is in Nashville at the Bridgestone Arena. After this game, Coach Davis said he would let his players have a long Christmas break with no practice until Dec. 26th.

You have to imagine with a payoff like that on the horizon, the Rebels will come out motivated to make quick work of MTSU.