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Ole Miss basketball faces Rider and No. 18 Memphis this week

The Rebels could change its trajectory with a 2-0 week.

NCAA Basketball: Boise State at Mississippi David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

The Rebel basketball program has a massive opportunity to log an upset over the weekend against top 25 Memphis, but first it has to handle Rider University on Tuesday to extend its winning streak.

I guess we can call it a winning streak? It’s one game so far, and a win tonight would make two... so yeah, a winning streak.

Ole Miss (4-2) has not turned a lot of heads just yet in the early part of this season with losses to Marquette and Boise St. tainting a Charleston Classic tournament appearance. To the untrained eye, it seems the Rebels have not found a go-to scoring option when games get tight, and for a team entering its 100th game under the leadership of head coach Kermit Davis, it is concerning but a lot of basketball still left to be played.

The two game winning homestand this week would go a long way to a huge rebound for the Rebels. Memphis (5-1) comes in ranked number 18 in the Associated Press Top 25 under head coach Penny Hardaway, and there will be undoubtedly a sell out crowd on Saturday for tip off with the Tigers.

Rider (3-5) is not having the best start to the ‘21-22 season, but fans would be amiss to overlook this game and assume it is an easy win. The Broncs most recently lost at South Carolina 65-58 and led the majority of the game before a Gamecock run in the second half sealed the game.

The casual fan may not recognize the name Dimencio Vaughn who will be in a Rider uniform tonight, but the grad transfer previously played for Ole Miss last season, logging around six or seven minutes per game. Vaughn now averages nearly a dozen points per game for the Broncs, and I would assume will come into Tuesday’s game with a good bit of motivation to show out.

Ole Miss has been led this season by Jarkel Joiner who averages 15 points per game with Duke transfer Jaemyn Brakefield making an immediate impact with more than 10 PPG as well. Miami transfer Nysier Brooks has been a nice find as well with 8.8 PPG and 6.7 rebounds per game.

Tuesday’s tilt with Rider begins at 6:30 at the SJB Pavilion in Oxford. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.