The 13-seed Rebels will look to continue the upset trend in the second game of the tournament today as the take on the 5th seeded Tennessee Volunteers.
The Vols are doing what any Rick Barnes team does: start off looking like a top team but when the schedule hits February/March it fizzles out. UT is 4-6 since February 1 including an 0-5 record away from its home floor.
These two teams matched up back in December for a four point victory for Tennessee in Oxford. Matthew Murrell struggled his way to 5 points while Santiago Vescovi had 22 for UT.
So what is the formula for another Ole Miss upset today?
For starters, the Rebs got the jitters out of the way and have played a game on this floor while Tennessee has not played since Saturday - a loss to Auburn. The whole rest vs. rust theory comes into play here. Ole Miss needs to punch early and catch the Vols struggling to find their rhythm.
Tennessee will also be without their dynamic point guard Zakai Zeigler who tore his ACL a few games back. He was their second leading scorer and really made their offense go. Barnes is notorious for having a good defense while his offense struggles late in the season, missing one of the best point guards in the conference is a check in the Rebs favor.
Keeping Josiah-Jordan James and Julian Phillips off the offensive glass and limiting Santiago Vescovi from the perimeter should be the main gameplan for this one. A hot shooting game from Murrell and/or Abram could easily lead the Rebs to a quarterfinal matchup against Missouri on Friday.
How to watch
Where: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tenn.
When: Thursday, March 9, 2 p.m. CT
Broadcast: SEC Network