Ole Miss basketball will take the floor against a scrappy Norfolk State team looking to recreate some magic from last season when it defeated SEC foe Alabama.
The Rebels (1-0) are undefeated against teams from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, but the Spartans (2-0) are notable from its thrilling upset over Bama in Tuscaloosa in the first round of the NIT last season.
Ole Miss opened its season with a 71-43 win over Arkansas St. led by Devontae Shuler with 20 points and KJ Buffen with 16 points. Norfolk State looks to senior Jermaine Bishop (13 points per game) and freshman Yoro Sidibe (11 points per game) to lead things offensively. The Spartans are averaging more than 95 points per game, granted against some less than stellar opponents — Greensboro College and Penn State-Wilkes Barre.
Senior guard Breein Tyree will look to shake off his performance from the season opener where he struggled with his shooting touch and only managed single digits. Tyree is the leading returning scorer in the SEC and is expected to compete for All-SEC honors again this year.
The Rebels and Spartans have never faced each other in basketball, but head coach Kermit Davis will undoubtedly look to smother the high scoring Norfolk State offense through pressuring what should be a less talented team. In its first game, Ole Miss allowed only 43 points, which was the lowest opponent point total in five years.
Ultimately, this is college basketball in November, so weird things can absolutely happen. Penn topped Alabama 81-80 in its first game of the season, and Mississippi State had to rally late to beat Sam Houston State in Starkville over the weekend. If you’re in Oxford or nearby, the Pavilion has phenomenal HVAC to keep you warm, and also they serve cold beers now to get you in the mood for some basketball.
I still think Kermit will have the Rebels ready to win this game, but it will be more of a challenge than the first contest of the year.
Line: Ole Miss -23.5
How to watch
Where: The Pavilion at Ole Miss, Oxford, Miss.
When: 6:30pm CST
Online streaming: WatchESPN