In an upset surprising no one, the Boise State Broncos (3-2) prevailed over the Ole Miss Rebels (3-2) by a score of 60-50. Boise never led until six minutes were remaining in the game, but never looked back after it had the lead.
Senior forward Mladen Armus, who entered the game averaging eight points and seven rebounds per game, imposed his will late, finishing with 11 points and 13 boards. Senior forward Abu Kigab found similar success with 12 points and 8 rebounds.
But the story wasn’t the Broncos as much as it was the Rebels. Ole Miss had nine assists on the day, was outrebounded by nine (giving up twelve on the offensive side). The Rebels fouled Boise nineteen times to the Broncos’ ten. Ole Miss shot 20 percent from three and 36 percent overall, however the team did make 100% of its... six free throws.
As you might imagine, rebounds were a problem as the three big men who actually played significant minutes (Nysier Brooks, Jaemyn Brakefield, and Robert Allen) finished with only 12 combined. Yes, those three together were outrebounded by the aforementioned Armus.
Speaking of Brooks, he fouled out with four minutes remaining. The Rebels had no response and were abused down low for the remainder of the game. Junior forward Sammy Hunter, who is 6’9”, recorded only a personal foul.
Highly-touted recruit Matthew Murrell, now a sophomore, finished with six points on eight shots. Junior Luis Rodriguez was somewhat of a bright spot defensively (racking up four steals) but finished 1-5 from the floor.
There’s just no one who the coaches can give the ball to in crunch time and expect anything but inconsistency. Even Jarkel Joiner (who finished with a team leading ten points) finished with four fouls and only one rebound.
Big Picture Stuff
Everyone who pays attention to Ole Miss knew about these huge problems. Fans remember the Rebs couldn’t shoot threes last season. So the coaches went and got..... no one who can shoot threes. The team have no playmakers, and I personally have no significant reasons for optimism. It’s just a total disaster, and one that isn’t likely to get better.
Kermit Davis signed an extension this offseason, and one can’t help but wonder why that was offered to him. He has underperformed every season except his first, one that saw him inherit an NBA player. He has signed lots of high school talent, literally none of which has turned out to produce so far. His best performers every season are transfers. His teams play with seemingly no understanding of modern approaches to offense, and he doesn’t have any shooters. I just don’t understand how things will improve.
I want Ole Miss to be good at basketball. I love watching people play the sport well. It’s more interesting, to me, than football. But watching a team clearly just go through the motions for a coach who just signed a four year extension makes no sense. When Andy Kennedy’s teams dominated the non-conference but limped to average production in conference play, Kennedy was criticized over and over again. What about a team that struggles in non-conference play and is dominated by the SEC in year four?
What will happen then?