The most important part of tonight’s game is the top 25 opponent entering the Pavilion to play the Ole Miss Rebels.
Close behind it is the Taco Tuesday promotion where the first 200 students get a free taco.
FREE MEXICAN FOOD GET THERE. I’m actually pretty certain at least one staffer for Red Cup has about a dozen disguises to use to try and get as many free tacos as possible by entering, leaving, and re-entering the Pavilion.
Bring your A-game, kids.
Also of great importance, tonight’s game marks the first opportunity for head coach Kermit Davis to win his 500th career game in 25 seasons of coaching. This could end up being a very special night for fans and coach Davis, but I wouldn’t go and put your mortgage payment on the Rebels (10-9, 1-5) to win. Vegas has slated No. 17 Auburn (17-2, 4-2 SEC) as a 5-point favorite on the road despite its 2-2 record in true road games and Ole Miss’ 7-3 home record.
If Auburn does win tonight, it would be only the third time the Tigers have defeated the Rebels in the last 15 chances the two teams have played. Ole Miss swept Auburn last season including a 82-67 win over the then No. 10 ranked Tigers in Oxford.
We covered some of the intangible reasons Ole Miss has a chance tonight in a post earlier this week, but for the X’s and O’s, things are really going to lay heavy on the shoulders of senior guard Breein Tyree as usual.
Tyree is leading the SEC in scoring in conference play at more than 25 points per game, and he ranks at the top of the active career scoring list. It’s no surprise for any opponent Tyree is going to get his - the only real question is how well your team keeps him in check and who that opens up offensively in the process.
Against Georgia, Tyree led the Rebels with 20, and it seemed like things opened up more for KJ Buffen on offense, scoring 14 points. The Bulldogs seemed to fixate far more on Tyree and Devontae Shuler in the half-court allowing for Buffen space to create, going five of six from the floor.
The biggest question mark for tonight is how the bench will answer to aid in the effort of the starting five. The bench scored only eight of the 70 points against Georgia (all from Bryce Williams), nine of the 48 in a blowout loss to Tennessee, and a paltry three of the 76 points against LSU. Someone out of Austin Crowley, Sammy Hunter, and Bryce Williams has to step up and get some baskets in relief duty, and I know we’ve covered this at least 15 times already this season.
Bottom line — get there early, get a taco, grab a few cold ones, get ready to scream your lungs out and watch Bruce Pearl turn that weird shade of purple when he’s astronomically mad at an in-bounds play that just went sideways. If Pearl sweats through his jacket by the second half, we’ll all be feeling good tonight.
Line: Auburn -5
How to watch
Where: The Pavilion at Ole Miss, Oxford, Miss.
When: 8:00pm CST
Online streaming: WatchESPN