If you told me way back in the dark ages of last Fall and before the time of Oxford resident Lane Kiffin, that at the end of January 2020 I would be more excited about last-bowl-game-was-in-2015 Ole Miss football than the basketball team, I would’ve requested you please stop shouting and harassing me and the other customers trying to eat our meals in peace. Also, put your shirt back on.
Yet, here we are with a basketball team in a fight to finish the season above .500, and a football team that will - checks notes - probably finish .500, but it’s the GOOD KIND of .500. Why no, the Matt Luke era did not damage my very normal brain.
Obviously, the basketball season has been disappointing, but there are a few things we can enjoy in a season very on-brand for a program with 31 winning seasons ever. As a reminder, these rankings are brought to you by it’s the last week of January, men’s and women’s basketball are bad, and recruiting is locked in the rumors phase.
(1) Rod Barnes Ejection
Fortunately for the purposes of this post I had no idea I would write, I was at the game against Cal State Bakersfield in December. It was Barnes’ first trip to Oxford as a head coach* since being fired at Ole Miss in 2006.
*He may have returned as an assistant, but it’s impossible for me to care enough to look up if that’s true.
There was a nice moment prior to the game when his return was announced over the PA system, and the crowd gave him a standing ovation, which was deserved. As someone who once started a blog so I could be mad on the line about Barnes being a terrible coach and recruiter, I’m glad it happened, because Barnes did a lot for a historically awful basketball program. He had a hand in The Pavilion being built, and he needed to hear a thank you.
Anyway, if you recall, and how could you not remember a non-conference basketball game played on December 7, 2019, Barnes got tossed via a second technical foul with 12:30 to play in the second half. In fact, the second technical happened within the same possession as the first technical. MAXIMUM EFFICIENCY, which was the opposite of a Rod Barnes-directed Ole Miss offense.
Although strong, not the most famous Oxford ejection, which remains this:
And expertly documented here.
(2) Comeback Win Over Penn State
With 16:23 to play, Penn State led by 21 points, which, as any basketball expert will tell you, is the most dangerous lead in college basketball. Penn State’s strategy of scoring 20 points in the final 16+ minutes turned out to be poor to quite poor, as Ole Miss dropped 47 points in the second half on the way to a two-point win.
I realize this win means nothing now, but these types of wins rarely happen for Ole Miss. Usually, Ole Miss recognizes the need to SIM TO END and lets us move on to other things. So when something like this happens, it must be documented.
DID YOU KNOW: This game was played the day before the Egg Bowl in which a fake pee changed Ole Miss football and all of college football.
/puts on tin foil fedora
DID KERMIT DAVIS AND HIS TEAM’S COMEBACK WIN INSPIRE ELIJAH MOORE TO FAKE PEE IN AN ATTEMPTED COMEBACK? MANY PEOPLE ARE SAYING THIS. TOP PEOPLE, MAYBE EVEN TOP GENERALS ARE ASKING. WE’RE LOOKING INTO IT.
(3) Backdoor Cover Against Memphis If You Had Ole Miss +4
Going from a push, which is not the worst, to a win in .9 seconds is the stuff we love to see. If you scan the crowd closely when the shot goes in, you can see the surrender cobras of those who had Memphis -4. HATE 2 SEE IT.
(4) Easy Cover Against Memphis If You Had Ole Miss +4.5
Never a doubt and you got the benefit of Memphis fans not making financial gains. Surely they made it up in their games against Tulsa and SMU last week.
(5) Eating Classic New York Sandwiches
Good to know members of the basketball team, while visiting the original home of barbecue, chicken sandwiches, and pizza slices, got to enjoy authentic, locally-sourced Big Apple sandwiches.
(6) When You Realize Hot Dog Sandwiches Are, In Fact, Garbage And Not A Legitimate Food Option
(7) Visiting The Metropolitan Museum Of Art
When you’re in the big city, you have to take advantage of access to one of the world’s finest museums.
(8) U Fancy Thanksgiving Dining
The Zebra Tent in the Grove traveled to New York but reduced the fancy by 55 percent.
(8) Breein Tyree
Our New Jersey son is averaging 22.5 points per game in conference play, even with only eight points against Auburn on Tuesday night. Credit the Tigers for making plans to shut him down, but foul trouble kept his total minutes at 32 in a game that lasted roughly 174 minutes.
(9) Double-Digit Conference Game Leads
Surely once you get up by 10 or more the game is over!
/hand to earpiece
I’m being told this may not be true. In fact, there is laughter coming from the control room that I would think this.
The lesson here is that, just like the college football scriptwriters, the college basketball scriptwriters want you to feel hope so they can take it from you for sport.
(10) Sweaty Bruce Pearl
As terrifying sweater myself, I don’t judge Pearl, and I applaud Ole Miss’ effort, without their best player for the final 15 minutes (5 in regulation and 10 in two overtimes) and in a dead season for making him sweat so much.
After scrolling through the archives of my mind, I’m fairly certain the most I’ve ever sweated in a suit/tuxedo was when I was in a friend’s wedding in Memphis during the summer. The air conditioning in the church went out early in the day, and while they were able to get it back on mid-afternoon, it did not achieve COOLING ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED by the time we entered the sanctuary that evening.
Fortunately, myself and some other groomsmen stuffed paper towels into our pockets, which we used to wipe off the water fountain sweat on our faces during every prayer. The point being, breathable track suits should be formal wear for every occasion.