Ole Miss men’s basketball is back, and while most fans remember last season as a trainwreck, well - it was a trainwreck that’s accurate.
But now it’s the Chris Beard era. The Rebels have returning seniors Matthew Murrell and Jaemyn Brakefield, the tallest player in college basketball, and a handful of transfers looking to make an immediate impact in Oxford.
For fans, the new regime for men’s basketball has brought along a fresh air of excitement, but it seems Beard is wanting to drastically change the atmosphere at games. With the season tipoff, here’s what is in store for fans who make it to the Pavilion.
Let's get this party started— Ole Miss Men’s Basketball (@OleMissMBB) November 4, 2023
✅ Koozie Giveaway
✅ Happy Hour Pregame
✅ Club Red Party in the Sip t-shirt giveaway
✅ Pregame Red Carpet Photoshoot
Don't miss out! See you MONDAY!#HottyToddy | #BuildTheCulture pic.twitter.com/EdgjMz7GTT
Who doesn’t love a koozie, discount beers and a free t-shirt? Honestly, it’s what college basketball is all about - hootin’ and hollerin’ at opposing teams and getting free stuff.
Beard also announced a new postgame tradition where students are invited on the court postgame to take a photo with the team to promote an “all in” type of culture. Home court advantage is huge in basketball, but to be honest, the non-conference atmosphere in the Pavilion has lacked for YEARS.
Monday’s game against Alabama St. should not be a competitive one. This is a classic non-conference tune-up where the Rebels should win by 20 or more if things go as expected. Tony Madlock is the Hornets coach, and while he is a former Ole Miss staff member from previous years, I don’t think he will have loads of insight into Beard’s gameplan.
Here is our projection for who will start vs. Alabama St.
Projected Starting Five
- G Matthew Murrell
- G TJ Caldwell
- G/F Allen Flanigan
- F Jaemyn Brakefield
- F/C Jamarion Sharp
Sharp is the aforementioned tallest player in basketball who averages more than four blocks per game from his time at Western Kentucky. I have a feeling he is going to become a fan favorite as the Rebels have not had a player like him with his defensive abilities in a long time if ever.
The one player I think fans have to anticipate having a breakout season is TJ Caldwell who was on the team last year but played somewhat sparingly. While he only had 4.7 points per game in 2022-23, Beard has spoken highly of him in the fall practice season.
Flanigan could very well be the glue that pulls together this squad in the locker room and on the court. He has SEC experience from his seasons at Auburn and 114 overall games played in D-1 basketball. Plus, his father is an assistant coach for the Rebels and a senior, so much of the leadership from this squad will come from him, Brakefield and Murrell, which is the type of veteran leadership last year’s team lacked.
TLDR version: Party in the ‘Sip night, lots of new guys, vets should lead the way over an overmatched ASU squad. Cheers!
How to Watch
Who: Ole Miss vs. Alabama St.
When: 7 p.m. CT
Where: SJB Pavilion, Oxford, Miss.
Streaming: SEC Network+