Ole Miss just wasn’t ready for its third NCAA Tournament bid this decade,
Oklahoma outperformed the Rebels in nearly every facet of the game en route to a 95-72 win. They move on to face the winner of Virginia vs. Gardner-Webb in the third round.
The thought going into this game was that Oklahoma’s defense would tote the load for the Sooners, but inexplicably hot shooting led to a 50-point performance in the first half against the Rebels. Fifty, count ‘em, 50 points in only 20 minutes of American college basketball. That’s not ideal by any metric.
OU started out 12-for-16 shooting and led 29-18 at the 12-minute media timeout. Somehow, things got worse from there. Four Sooners notched five or more points at the eight-minute mark as the Sooner lead swelled to more than 20 points with four minutes left in the half.
Most of what could be blamed was hot shooting by Oklahoma, but there were also repeated attempts to make interior passes and drive into the Sooner defense that led to 11 turnovers and 12 points off those mistakes (OU committed just three turnovers). The Rebels’ inability to get to the free throw line didn’t help things—their first trip to the charity stripe came with only 1:39 left in the first half. The Sooners outscored Ole Miss by 18 points from the line.
The second half was more of the same as the Sooners started out 6-for-7 from the field, stymieing any chance for the Rebels to cut significantly into the lead. Ole Miss shrank to 12 at times, but the Rebels could never capture the momentum.
This game was a dud, but it shouldn’t overshadow an incredible first season for head coach Kermit Davis and the final year for senior Terence Davis. Picked preseason to finish last in the Southeastern Conference, Ole Miss won 20 games, finished in the top half of the league and knocked off multiple top-25 opponents. This team made it back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in nearly half a decade and happened to run into a hot-shooting Sooner that held a significant advantage in the post.
Delete this game from your mental and physical DVR, Rebel fans, because it’s nothing you’ll ever want to watch again. But save the high points of this season. They were undoubtedly unexpected and joyous and look forward to the Kermit Davis era in year two.
Comment below or tweet @redcuprebellion with your thoughts on this season. What moments will you never forget? How do you feel about next season now?