Chris Beard has to be a little pleased his Ole Miss Rebels are 4-0, but he can’t be happy with the too close for comfort margins against less than strenuous opponents.
The Rebels topped Sam Houston State and Detriot Mercy by a combined four points last week, and while a win is a win, these kind of games are more expected to be tune-ups rather than stress tests.
Wednesday’s game against Temple in Philadelphia, Penn. could certainly fall into more of a test category as its the first road trip for this squad. The Owls were middle of the road last year in the American Athletic Conference, but home court advantage is still a very real thing in college basketball.
Temple has fallen off since the Fran Dunphy era where the program went to the NCAA Tournament eight of 12 years from 2007 to 2019. Aaron McKie took over as head coach after and was unable to get the Owls back to the big dance and has been replaced by Adam Fisher who is in his first season there. Fisher was largely credited with the resurgence of Penn State to the NCAA Tournament last season.
The biggest challenge it seems for this season is a massive defiency of depth for Ole Miss. There are six players averaging over 20 minutes per game and five players starting every single game. TJ Caldwell and Robert Cowherd are coming off the bench for the most minutes, but after that, there’s only freshman Rashaud Marshall and transfer Austin Nunez pitching in thus far.
Ole Miss is being led by Allen Flanigan and Matthew Murrell as the most consistent scorers, and both have a ton of SEC experience the last few years. In road games like this, one or both of them have to elevate their play and make a win happen.
How to Watch
What: Ole Miss vs. Temple men’s basketball
Where: The Liacouras Center, Philadelphia, Penn.
When: Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2:30 p.m. CT