Ole Miss pulled out all the stops Saturday morning in Oxford as it hosted regional rival Memphis Tigers. It began in the pregame with the program containing satirical entries about the Tigers roster, mainly about how displeased Emoni Bates’ teammates are with him much he shoots the ball.
If you were in the arena and wondered why they played “Whoop That Trick” from the movie Hustle and Flow, the song is a staple in Memphis, often associated with the Memphis Grizzlies during the Grit n’ Grind era rivalry with the Los Angeles Clippers, translated to “Whoop that Clip.” So when the game was safely secured, the Rebs game operations team trolled the Memphis Tigers and its fans yet again by blasting that through the speakers.
In front of a sell out crowd, the Ole Miss Rebels handled their business, picking up a Quad 1 win for its resume. Yes, you need to root for Memphis to win the rest of its games, the Tigers’ future success will directly effect Ole Miss’ tourney resume.
1 Player of the Game: Matthew Murrell
This was the game Rebel fans have waited on from the highest rated recruit in Ole Miss history. It is likely he had this game circled being a Memphis native, and he did not disappoint. He finished with 19 points with 4 made threes, 3 rebounds and 2 assists. It was not only his ability to knock down shots from the perimeter but also his ability to create off the dribble. If this is the game that unlocked Murrell, the outlook on this season is now trending up.
3 Key Stats
2 - That is both the number of points Jalen Duren had, the number of three’s the Memphis team made and the number of combined field goals Duren and Emoni Bates hit in the game. The two five-star freshman were held in check and it looks as if the 17-year-old Bates should have returned for his junior year of high school. He’s simply not ready to play this level of ball.
62.2 - That was the free throw percentage of the Tigers. It’s a story that never ends for Memphis — looking at you Darius Washington — the fact is if Memphis only misses 9 free throws instead of 14, they win this game. So thanks for the generosity, it is called the charity stripe after all.
66 - The Rebels new KenPom ranking after the victory. That shows both that they are a top 68 team deserving of being in the tourney (maybe) and that there is some significant work to be done to solidify the resume. The Rebels will have chances in conference play as there are seven SEC teams ahead of Ole Miss in KenPom
1 Important Observation
Experienced guards matter in the NCAA and Ole Miss not only actually had guards, but had the better guards in Joiner and Murrell. Whether this game grants Murrell an audition in the starting lineup or makes him a super sub, Coach Davis has two guards that can put it in the bucket with McDonald’s All American Ruffin on the way soon. How far will the experienced veterans on this team carry the Rebs will be the story to watch the rest of the way.