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Ole Miss basketball blows out Arkansas as it chases postseason

The Rebels are a force to be reckoned with in Oxford

NCAA Basketball: Arkansas at Mississippi Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Ole Miss basketball continued its Jekyll and Hyde routine since its begun conference play and demolished the Arkansas Razorbacks by the largest margin of victory in 50 years in the series with a 77-51 win on Wednesday.

The Rebels (16-3, 3-3 SEC) are just a different team when it plays in the friendly confines of the SJB Pavilion. Ole Miss is undefeated at home this season including 3-0 against SEC opponents. Should fans petition for the SEC basketball tournament to be moved to Oxford? People are saying it more and more, and it’s a good thing.

Juju Murray led the team in scoring with 21 points while Matthew Murrell added 18. Senior Allen Flanigan posted yet another double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds for the game.

This remains to be a team with a lot to prove, however. Arkansas was missing its leading scorer, so it stands to reason the Rebels were able to hold the Hogs to its lowest point total of the season. There’s also the lack of road wins, and its best road win being UCF - at some point if the Rebels are a tournament worthy team, Ole Miss has to win against an SEC opponent on the road.

So Ole Miss is in a place it has been plenty of times before - no terrible losses but also just a small handful of quality wins. It’s the bubble life for the No. 63 ranked NET team in the country, and in my opinion the next six games offer a lot of opportunity for the Rebels.

Here’s the second third of the SEC schedule coming up for Ole Miss:

  • Jan. 27 @ Texas A&M
  • Jan. 30 Mississippi St.
  • Feb. 3 No. 8 Auburn
  • Feb. 6 @ South Carolina
  • Feb. 13 @ No. 6 Kentucky
  • Feb. 17 Missouri

Now if things continue at the same trend, the Rebels will go 3-3 with three more home wins including one against top 25 Auburn and in-state rival MSU. Those would provide a huge boost for its postseason chances. However, if the Rebels falter at home, the prospect of picking up a game against the Aggies, Gamecocks or Wildcats seems like a tough task unless something drastically changes.

That something is more consistent play for longer stretches of the game. While first year coach Chris Beard has found a roster that can compete, there seems to be lulls either offensively or defensively even in home games where opponents string together unanswered runs. If the Rebels are for real, the next six games are going to tell the tale.