Ole Miss has a longshot chance for a season sweep against the Florida Gators in basketball, but it has to be done with the absence of its two leading scorers.
The Rebels (12-10, 3-6 SEC) will play without Daeshun Ruffin and Jarkel Joiner who are both out with injuries. Ruffin injured his knee during the LSU mid-week game and is out for the season while Joiner could return by the end of this month.
Florida (14-8, 4-5 SEC) is on a two-game winning streak, and the Gators have been struggling without its star big man Colin Castleton and 6’11” center Jason Jitoboh. Clearly, coach Mike White wasn’t brought into Gainesville to lead the program to a sub .500 conference record and the same can be said for coach Kermit Davis in Oxford. Both coaches are likely feeling the pressure to win and win now.
Unfortunately, I honestly am not sure who will do the majority of the ball-handling and point guard duties for Ole Miss today. The Rebels were atrocious offensively when Ruffin came out against LSU and didn’t score a field goal for 10 minutes. Senior guard Tye Fagan and junior guard Luis Rodriguez may split this duty as the more experienced players, but it’s my hope sophomore Matthew Murrell gets a chance to show why he has excelled in Joiner’s absence.
Florida is currently ranked No. 46 in the NET, so the team finds itself riding the bubble with nine SEC games left to play. The Gators cannot afford to lose this game at home, especially to a No. 102 ranked Ole Miss team.
That being said, it would be fun for the Rebels to turn into an even dirtier, scrappier basketball team and somehow cobble together some wins to make this season interesting. I don’t see it happening, but college basketball is one of the most unpredictable sports we cover. Cheers!
Line: Florida -8.5
How to watch
Where: Exactech Arena at Stephen O’Connell Center, Gainesville, Fla.
When: 2:30pm CDT
TV: SEC Network
Online streaming: WatchESPN