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OXFORD, Miss. – In order for Ole Miss to make the NCAA Tournament, the Rebels must have success on the road, as head coach Andy Kennedy keeps reminding his team. He can rest assured sophomore guard Terence Davis has heard him loud and clear.
In league play, Ole Miss (11-7, 2-4 SEC) has lost road games at Florida and South Carolina, two of the top three teams in the SEC.
However, the good news is after playing Kentucky, Georgia, the Gators, and the Gamecocks, the Rebels’ conference schedule now becomes a little easier as six of their next seven opponents are near the bottom of the RPI Top 100.
Today (2:30 p.m., SECN), the Rebels face Missouri (5-12, 0-5), followed by a home game against Texas A&M on Jan. 25.
Davis, who had a double-double in Ole Miss’ 80-69 win over Tennessee Tuesday night, knows Ole Miss needs to continue the momentum.
“These next two games are must-win games. We’ve got to win them. We all have agreed as a team that these are must-win games. We’ve got to get these two.”
Ole Miss forward Terence Davis
The Rebels have fared well against Missouri since the Tigers joined the SEC before the beginning of the 2012-13 season, winning five straight and six of the seven meetings, including a season sweep last season. Ole Miss is 2-1 against Missouri on the road, with its only loss coming against the Tigers in Columbia in 2013.
Under its head coach Kim Anderson, Missouri hasn’t had much success this season.
The Tigers have lost nine straight games and haven’t won a game since Dec. 6 against Miami (OH). Missouri’s most recent loss came on Wednesday night at Alabama (68-56). In the first half of the loss, the Tigers made 6 of 20 from the floor. Missouri currently ranks last in the SEC in field goal percentage, shooting just 39 percent from the field. The Tigers are 13th in the league in scoring at 69.9 points per game.
Missouri hasn’t protected its home court well either, winning only four of six, so a road win today against the Tigers is imperative for the Rebels.
“Coach always brings it up when we go on the road. It’s always big to get a road win. Fighting on the road is hard. Sometimes, the atmosphere on the road is crazy. If you want to be an NCAA Tournament team, you’ve got to pull some out.”
Ole Miss played with only seven players in the second half of the victory over Tennessee. The Rebels’ leading scorer, Deandre Burnett, has been sidelined with a high ankle sprain, and his status is still day-to-day.
Coach Kennedy said the Rebels would be without senior forward Rasheed Brooks for the Missouri game, after Brooks suffered a seizure on the court during a timeout against the Vols.
According to reports, Brooks was released from the hospital on Thursday, just two days after the incident. With his absence, the Rebels will have a limited lineup with which to maneuver.
Regardless of who is available, Davis, who finished with a team-high 20 points against the Vols, knows the Rebels need to play together to pick up a crucial win on the road.
“We’ve got to be real cautious of what we do on defense. Dre (Burnett) is possibly coming back for Saturday’s game, but I don’t know if Sheed (Brooks) will be back or whatever. I think we’ll be okay. All we’ve got to do is play as a team.”
(Feature image credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics)
Courtney is from Memphis and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Memphis in May of 2014. He began his journalism career covering the Memphis Tigers Men’s basketball team, which landed him an intern position on 730 Yahoo Sports Radio and a position with Rivals.com. A freelance writer for the Associated Press, Courtney is also a member of The Rebel Walk team and reports regularly on Ole Miss football and basketball. Courtney, the father of a six-year old girl named Soniyah, prefers to cover NCAA basketball and football, but is happy to report on any other sport that comes his way.