I sound like a broken record, but this team has problems.
After picking up some momentum last week with wins over Mississippi State and Texas A&M, Ole Miss fell flat on its face this week in Fayetteville and Athens and reverted back to its ways of horrid shooting from the perimeter and in general. The Rebels shot 2-of-13 from three (meaning they’ve made a total of three three-pointers this week) on Saturday which is good for 15.4 percent. By comparison (even after cooling off some in the second half), Georgia shot 50 percent from beyond the arc.
UGA isn’t a good basketball team. They entered the game 2-6 in conference play, and now two of their three SEC wins have come over the Rebels. That’s a damning indictment on where Ole Miss sits as we prepare to turn the calendar to February.
Although I’m no expert analyst, my diagnosis is simple: for the last two seasons, what’s happened in the Ole Miss basketball program hasn’t worked. The Rebs made the NCAA tournament in Kermit Davis’ first year at the helm, but since then, the product on the floor has looked off kilter and heading in the wrong direction.
Since the graduation of Breein Tyree, it’s been more evident as this team lacks a consistent scorer. Sure, Devontae Shuler is the closest one that fits that bill, but even he at times goes cold, and no one else seems able to share the load at this point.
In case you’re still optimistic that this team can pull it together in the home stretch of the season (which, sure, they might), it would take a miracle of biblical proportions for them to reach the big dance, so the remainder of this season should be spent answering this question: what works? Who on this roster will return next year with its year of free eligibility? Who will be processed?
Can the incoming recruits finally be the pieces that put this puzzle together? I don’t know the answer to any of these questions, but while Ole Miss football (and hopefully baseball) have serious momentum entering this year, the basketball program has taken a step back.
Losing two games in a row by double digits that were winnable on paper and would have at least made you a fleeting thought in the tournament conversation isn’t good, and it effectively killed any hope of a postseason barring some kind of magic in the SEC tournament (if it’s played).
Also, he’s not on the hot seat in my opinion (partially due to it being year three and partially due to financial limitations), but I think it’s completely fair to ask if Kermit Davis can get the job done in Oxford, or to at least question his staff and recruiting strategy. I know it’s a touchy subject, but I think we’ve reached the point where it’s in the minds of a lot of fans, so I think it’s totally understandable if you want to ask those questions.
Ole Miss was the last power five team to play a game this season due to COVID-19 difficulties. It’s a weird year on our planet. But something about this team isn’t working right now, and it’s time to start figuring out what that is.