Cue up that “Welcome Back Cotter” theme song.
Michael White is back in Oxford again as a former Ole Miss Rebel who leads the Florida basketball program. The Gators (14-8, 6-3 SEC) have been pretty solid with White at the helm though there have been rumbles of disappointment for a team that climbed to the highest heights a couple times since the turn of the century.
Meanwhile, Ole Miss (11-11, 2-7 SEC) is just looking to salvage a season that went off the rails in January with an 0-5 start in conference play. Since then, the Rebels are 2-2 with a one point loss at home to top 25 Auburn. Things are certainly trending better in the last couple weeks.
Florida beat Ole Miss earlier this season in Gainesville, 71-57, as the Gators overcame a halftime deficit to the Rebels. SEC scoring leader Breein Tyree and newcomer big Khadim Sy were not on the court for the Rebels, so it’s tough to say exactly what impact they would have had in the game but surely wouldn’t have been a negative to have them.
While it’s unlikely for head coach Kermit Davis and his team to go back to the NCAA Tournament, now the Rebels are attempting to climb out of the bottom four of the conference to avoid a Wednesday start in the SEC Tournament.
Halfway through SEC play, the Rebels have three games left against teams that are 2-7 or worse in conference play, and five of its last nine are in Oxford. There’s some potential to make a little bit of a run!
The Gators will undoubtedly have big games today from forwards Kenny Blackshear Jr. and Keyontae Johnson who lead the team in scoring this year. Ole Miss has a relatively inexperienced line-up around the rim, so the guard play from Tyree and Devontae Shuler will need to be very on-point to make a difference in the outcome of the game.
Florida is coming off the biggest comeback in SEC play this season after it overcame a 22-point Georgia lead during the week.
Ole Miss fans will also have a chance to meet the Rebel baseball team prior to tip-off, so bring a baseball, get some autographs, and see if you can get Mike Bianco to smile. Coach Davis will also get recognized for winning his 500th career game on Wednesday when the Rebels beat South Carolina by 14.
Line: Florida -3
How to watch
Where: The Pavilion at Ole Miss, Oxford, Miss.
When: 1:00pm CST
Online streaming: WatchESPN