Ole Miss basketball will try to break the College Station curse as it takes its sixth trip to “rich Starkville” to face Texas A&M tonight.
The Rebels (9-5, 1-0 SEC) are 0-5 against the Aggies at Reed Arena, and Texas A&M (13-2, 2-0 SEC) looks to be every bit of capable of extending that streak.
It may not have been pretty either game, but TAMU logged a 2-point win over Georgia and a 5-point win over Arkansas to open SEC play. In non-conference play, the Aggies have taken down the likes of Notre Dame, Oregon State and Butler to put together a solid, NCAA-worthy resume.
The Aggies are led by the steady hand of Los Angeles native and senior guard Quenton Jackson who leads the team at 13.5 points per game. Sophomore guard Marcus Williams is second on the team in scoring and dishes out nearly four assists per game.
I watched this squad play Arkansas over the weekend, and the game had all the makings of a blowout early in the second half. The Aggies were up nearly 20 points, but the team lacked the ability to put the Hogs away and Arkansas chipped its way back into the game. Ultimately, TAMU held them off, but I do think if the Rebels can hang around that 10-15 point range, anything is possible late.
Ole Miss got its first conference win Saturday against Mississippi St. following up on a solid performance at Tennessee to open SEC play. This team so far just looks different since Daeshun Ruffin has been back and healthier, Matthew Murrell has started making shots (31 points vs. MSU), and seven footer Nysier Brooks has begun to impose his will rebounding the basketball (16 rebounds vs. MSU).
Now, all that said, Ole Miss is still a 5-point underdog on the road. TAMU has a NET ranking of 60 and the Rebels are at 110, and any win on the road in the SEC is damn difficult. I mean, you gotta look over at the opposing bench and see coach Buzz Williams wearing a godawful vest, looking like a carnival barker, sweating his brains out, hootin’ and hollerin’ for 40 dadgum minutes. Plus, there’s the 12th man, the milk man lookin’ cheerleaders, and you’re smack dab in the middle of nowhere just shy of where Texas Chainsaw Massacre prolly really happened.
The Rebels need every point tonight to pull off this upset. It’s not a game in my opinion where Ole Miss can run with TAMU, and it will take a more methodical offensive night and slower tempo to keep this one close.
Line: Texas A&M -4.5
How to watch
Where: Reed Arena, College Station, Tex.
When: 7:30pm CDT
TV: SEC Network
Online streaming: WatchESPN