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One huge reason Ole Miss basketball is watchable the rest of the season

It rhymes with Threein Byree.

NCAA Basketball: Mississippi at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

The honeymoon is over for Ole Miss and head coach Kermit Davis.

Tuesday’s loss in Knoxville against Tennessee marked a six-game losing streak, including an 0-5 start to Southeastern Conference play for the Rebels. A few weeks ago, this team was 9-3 with a win over a solid Penn St. team and a one-point loss to top-25 Memphis on the road — things were still looking pretty good for a run back to the NCAA Tournament.

The chances of the postseason are slim and none now, and slim is putting packing tape on a bunch of boxes right now. Students are just now arriving back in Oxford for spring semester, but it’s extremely unlikely Club Red will be as lit as last season making home court advantage a little less significant.

But there is one huge reason Ole Miss basketball is watchable for fans though the .500 record is disappointing — Breein Tyree. Yes, I know, it’s as sappy as it sounds, but this is what a losing basketball season looks like.

Tyree is going to finish his career most likely as one of the top ten scorers in program history and potentially in the top five. Going into his senior year, Tyree had scored 1,187 points, and so far he’s added 321 points this season to end up at 1,508 points.

For reference, here’s the top-10 career point leaders in Ole Miss basketball history:

  1. John Stroud - 2,328
  2. Joe Harvell - 2,078
  3. Chris Warren - 2,021
  4. Carlos Clark - 1,822
  5. Elston Turner - 1,805
  6. Justin Reed - 1,785
  7. Keith Carter - 1,682 (please stand for our current AD)
  8. Jarvis Summers - 1,629
  9. Joe Gibbon - 1,601
  10. Gerald Glass - 1,564

As of now, Tyree sits at No. 13 all-time right behind former teammate and current Toronto Raptor Terence Davis. To crack the top ten, Tyree would only need to average a little more than four points per game down the stretch (currently he’s averaging close to 20).

Tyree averaging 20 points per game the next 13 games would put him seventh overall just behind Justin Reed. If somehow he can manage 25 points per game to close out the year, he would come in at fourth all time behind Chris Warren. Unfortunately, it’s pretty much statistically impossible to crack the top three unless Tyree figures out a way to average 40 to 70 points per game.

Needless to say, this is the biggest news for Ole Miss basketball moving forward — the fate of Breein Tyree, his final games in red and blue, and I guess the continued progress of newcomers around him. The wins, losses, and recruiting certainly matter to the overall happiness of the fan base, and I still think there’s a chance this team closes the season strong in the last six or so games of the year.

But these last couple months are about the career Tyree has put together, a reset from the long tenure of Andy Kennedy, and the foundation Kermit Davis is building from for the future of the program. It’s not pretty, but it’s what we’ve got right now.