Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Ole Miss 78 Central Florida 46

It was another tale of two halves for the Rebels. The Rebs played a first half reminiscent of the Arkansas State game and saw themselves trailing by as much as 14 at one point in the early going. The Rebel defense tightened after the shaky start, and we played pretty well the rest of the way. We held UCF to 20 second half points and a 35% shooting percentage. Daveed continues to be the man, scoring 24 points which included 4 3-pointers. We're still looking for that consistent 3rd scorer. Zach Graham had another nice performance (9 points, 5 rebounds), but he tends to disappear at times. I thought that DeAundre Cranston played really well tonight. Cranston hit for 8 and grabbed 12 rebounds. Cranston is looking like our most consistent frontcourt player at this point. Chris Warren scored 10 and Terrico White added 8. The Rebels have got to find a way to stop having these 5-10 minute lulls where we dig ourselves a big hole. We've already done it 3 times this season. We were able to come back against ASU and UCF, but a bad 5 minutes led to the loss to Utah. It's not going to be as easy to recover from a bad start against Louisville, West Virginia, or our SEC foes. The Rebs return to action on Saturday against Morgan State.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Central Florida (2-1) at Ole Miss (3-1)

The Rebs return home to Oxford Wednesday after going 1-1 in Daytona Beach last weekend. The Rebels take on a 2-1 Central Florida team who are coming off of a 1 point win on the road over New Mexico. They have another win over NC A&T and a loss to the team that will always live in Ole Miss infamy, Valpo. The Knights only have one player averaging double digit scoring. That player is pre-season all-CUSA pick and boxing legend Jermaine Taylor. Taylor leads UCF in both scoring (21.3) and rebounding (6.7). UCF looks to be another decent test for the young Rebel team. It's definitely a game we should win, but it's another game that we can lose if we don't come to play. The Rebels are still looking for a third scorer to take the pressure off of Warren and Huertas. Hopefully Zach Graham will follow-up on the good performance that he had against South Alabama in our last game in Oxford. The Rebs will also be looking for some consistent play from our inexperienced front court group. Wednesday's game is the first of three at home for the Rebels before they head to New Orleans to take on UNO on December 6th.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Weekend Recap

Well...the Rebs went 1-1 on the weekend with a win a loss to Utah and a win over Marshall. While I was certainly hoping to go 2-0, I'm happy to be returning home with at least one victory. The Utah game, which the Rebs lost 83-72, showed that we are going to miss Eniel almost as much defensively as we will offensively. Eniel was our best perimeter defender and his absence was evident by Utah's outstanding outside shooting. Utah hit 12 3-pointers while shooting 48% from deep. We actually faired pretty well against a much bigger team. We outrebounded the Utes by 1 and held their 7-2 center Nevill to 10 points. If we could have avoided the 5 minute lull where Utah was able to build a double digit lead, we probably would have won the game. Today's game against Marshall, an 82-78 win, was too close for comfort, but we were able to pull out a win. Marshall isn't a very good team, but I'll take a win any way we can get it. Chris Warren and David Huertas continue to carry the Rebs on their shoulders. We have got to start getting some consistent offensive production from a couple of other players, or this is going to be a tough season. Murphy Holloway was the only other double digit scorer in either game besides Warren or Huertas. Murphy scored 11 against Utah. Not a great weekend for the Rebels, but not terrible either. We need to win the next 2 at home against UCF and Morgan State before Bob Huggins and WVU come to town a week from Wednesday.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Trenton Marshall's new home

If you would have asked me six months ago where Trenton Marshall would have signed, I would have told you probably an SEC school, in particular, Ole Miss, MSU or Alabama. After numerous twists and turns, he has finally signed with the basketball mecca of Jacksonville State University (aerial view of Jacksonville, Alabama pictured).

Why JSU? Who really knows. We have been emailed by readers about possible legal charges pending for Marshall. I think it's is safe to say that a rising prospect does not sign with a school of that stature when he had many other avenues at one time to bigger and better programs without reasons forced on him. While former Jones coach Kyle Roane is on staff at JSU, it is evident Marshall had baggage and it will probably come out publicly.

Best of luck to Trenton. James Green is a solid coach. Maybe he and Ryan Perriloux can turn their lives around for the better.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ole Miss (2-0) vs. Utah (1-1)

The Rebels take on the Utah Utes Friday night in Daytona Beach as part of the Glenn Wilkes Classic. If anybody knows who Glen Wilkes is, let me know. Utah is 1-1 on the season, with an embarrassing loss to DII Southwest Baptist and a win over Wisconsin-Green Bay. Utah isn't nearly the program that they were under unhealthy man Rick Majerus. The Utes had their first winning season in three years last season, and they haven't made the tourney in quite a while. It will be a clash of styles when the Rebs and Utes meet. Utah is led by their frontcourt, most notably 7-2 Aussie Luke Nevill. Nevill averaged 24 points and 14 boards in Utah's first two games. It should be interesting to see how our long and lean frontcourt handles Utah's strong inside game. It's time for a couple of the White/Holloway/Henry/Cranston quartet to step up and give us some consistent inside play. We are going to struggle if we don't create an inside presence quickly. It would also be nice to see Chris Warren find his shot. I'm not worried about a sophomore slump, but I know how a couple of bad shooting nights can affect the psyche. Friday night is a game that we really should win. It would be really nice to head back to Oxford with a 4-0 record. We follow with two winnable home games against Central Florida and Morgan State before our big game against West Virginia on December 3rd. We can't afford many hiccups early on in this season with tough games against Louisville, New Mexico, USM, and WVU looming. Tip is at 5:30 with a Sunday game against Marshall to follow.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ole Miss 89 South Alabama 71

I was mighty worried before tonight's game against South Alabama. I didn't know how the team would respond against a good team after learning earlier in the day that they would be without one of their top players for the rest of the season. Kudos to AK for having the team ready to play tonight after a poor showing in the opener and another shot of bad injury news. The most remarkable thing about tonight's game is our perfect 22-22 free throw shooting. I know that is an Ole Miss record, and I wouldn't be surprised if it is an SEC record. Hopefully our good fortunes from the line will continue. These eyes have had to endure a number of very poor free throw shooting teams. Zach Graham played well in Eniel's absence. He played tough defense and scored 16 points, including several three's. David Huertas led the way again with 27 points. David hit 7 three's which is one off of Keith Carter's school record of 8. I'll be surprised if he doesn't break that record before the season is over. Chris Warren is still struggling to find his shot, but he played much better tonight than he did in the opener. He was able to get the lane and finish and did a better job of running the offense tonight. Chris finished with 15 points. The newcomers had a better showing tonight. I thought that DeAndre Cranston played well, finishing with 9 points and 5 rebounds. Henry (8), White (6), and Holloway (6) looked more comfortable and confident than they did in the opener. Mac White continues to be tough on defense and on the boards, but we need more consistent offensive production from him if we are going to be successful. Very good win for the Rebels tonight. South Alabama is not quite the team they were last year, but it's still a quality win. I'm encouraged by the play of Zach Graham and was glad to see improved play from the newcomers tonight. Everybody needs to get ready for a bumpy ride this preseason. We will struggle at times, but I expect us to be a pretty good team by the time SEC play rolls around. The Rebs are back in action on Friday when they play Utah in the Glenn Wilkes Classic in Daytona Beach, Florida. They then have an off day Saturday before playing Marshall on Sunday. Two more good tests for this young team.