So far, the Rebels (4-0) have run through some mid and low level non-conference opponents, but today is far different. Ole Miss will be facing a Memphis team who had arguably one of its best recruiting classes ever last signing period.
Notably, the No, 1 recruit in the nation, James Wiseman, will not play against the Rebels due to being in NCAA supermax prison for his parents accepting $11,000 or so from Memphis coach Penny Hardaway to help with moving expenses. This was prior to Hardaway being the Memphis coach though he was deemed a booster of the Tiger program.
The last time Ole Miss played Memphis, the Rebels were victorious in Oxford 85-77 in 2016. Both programs have changed head coaches since then, and there is a clear shift in momentum for both teams as well. Second year coach Kermit Davis is seeking a second consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament after a surprising 20-13 record in year one.
A win at Memphis in any season is a quality win, and it would shoot the Rebels into top 25 consideration heading into the NIT Tip-off in Brooklyn over Thanksgiving. The next week of games for Ole Miss is nearly if not more important than a few SEC games.
Right now, the oddsmakers have Ole Miss as four point underdogs, and Hardaway even made it sound in his press conference this week that Davis was a coach with his respect who “doesn’t accept mediocrity.” Hey, we’ll take that, but the Rebels certainly aren’t flying under the radar heading into this game.
Ole Miss is sixth nationally in scoring defense allowing only 52 points per game and lead teh SEC in defensive field goal percentage. The Rebels are also on a three game winning streak against the Tigers. The FedEx Forum will be sold out, tickets will be scalped, and this basketball game will potentially be a springboard for the Rebels into national relevancy this season.
Line: Ole Miss +4
How to watch
Where: FedEx Forum, Memphis, Tenn.
When: 12:00pm CST
Online streaming: WatchESPN