Ole Miss men’s basketball tips off tonight at the Sandy and John Black Pavilion against Alcorn St. beginning the 2022-2023 season.
But first there will be the start to the Lady Rebels basketball season against Kennesaw State at 5 p.m. The doubleheader will start on SEC Network+ with Coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin is looking to build on Ole Miss women’s basketball’s first trip to the NCAA Tournament in 15 seasons from last year.
Honestly, the women’s team is outshining the men majorly, and if you’re in the area, get to the dadgum Pavilion to holler at the Owls and give the Lady Rebs some home court advantage.
Alright, onto the men’s team.
The Rebels are looking to bounce back from a disastrous and injury riddling season last year with a core returning group headlined by Daeshun Ruffin, Matthew Murrell and Jaemyn Brakefield. Ruffin will most likely sit tonight’s game out due to an injury, but it is not reportedly a serious long term ailment.
It’s almost surreal Kermit Davis is entering his fifth season with Ole Miss as it seems partially he has been here too long and also not very long because of how unmemorable his tenure has been. One trip to the NCAA tourney in his first season and then none since has some fans restless especially after two major roster overhauls after a COVID shortened season in 2020.
It seems like Davis is searching for some answers but remains committed to defensive and fundamental basketball above all. Of the four transfers to hit the roster this year, all logged some kind of conference defensive player of the week or player of the year award and all are bigs looking to make a name for themselves in a bigger conference.
Lots of new faces for Ole Miss but what can fans expect from Alcorn St. tonight? The Braves won an exhibition over Tougaloo by double digits a week or so ago, but last season went 17-17 including 14-4 in the SWAC and advanced to the conference championship game only to lose to Texas Southern. ASU went on to the NIT as an eight seed and lost in the first round to Texas A&M in College Station by 12.
So, yes, I would expect a pretty scrappy team as it returns three starters in senior Dontrell McQuarter, senior Oddyst Walker, and sophomore Byron Joshua. Former Mississippi State forward Keondre Montgomery, a two-time Dandy Dozen selection out of Jackson, Miss., will also add some intrigue to this game.
The scoring threat from ASU seems to be Dominic Brewton who dropped 20 on the Aggies in the NIT and is also a preseason All-SWAC selection.
Not going to lie, I’ve got little to no clue what’s in store for Ole Miss basketball this season. It seems like a pretty imperative year to get back to the NCAA tournament for the program especially with an AD who is a basketball fanatic. Starting with a home loss to an in-state lower mid-major certainly wouldn’t be a good first step, but Ole Miss is 4-0 against ASU in previous meetings.
Finally, it’s basketball season, and the hopes that a turnaround can happen will be put to the test.
How to watch
Where: Sandy and John Black Pavilion, Oxford, Miss.
When: 8:00 pm CT
TV: SEC Network+
Online streaming: WatchESPN