Ole Miss will face one of its biggest non-conference tests in the Utah Runnin’ Utes Monday night in the MGM Resorts Main Event. A win tonight over a possible bubble team from the Pac-12 could go a long way towards differentiating resumes come March as the committee is determining who goes where in the NCAA Tournament.
Last time out, the Rebels got 39 points from guards Terence Davis and Markel Crawford. Davis was all over the floor, snagging six rebounds and three blocks. He has been the MVP of all three games thus far, and his athleticism will need to show against a Utah team coming off of a blowout win over Missouri (albeit a Mizzou club without all-everything Preseason All-American freshman sensation Michael Porter Jr.).
Getting more productive post play will be a key on this two-game road trip, and it all starts with Bruce Stevens. He will be a focal point Monday for Ole Miss and its frontcourt, as the JUCO transfer adjusts to #SECspeed. He was able to grab six rebounds and score eight points in just 22 minutes last Friday night against Georgia State.
Andy Kennedy’s teams tend to feature great guard play, but they will need more from Marcanvis Hymon, Justas Furmanavicius, and Dominik Olejniczak. The three combined for only seven points and eight rebounds in 46 minutes against Georgia State. That won’t be good enough against a Utah team that is scoring a hair under 84 points per game in the early-goings of 2017.
Utah will be the toughest test the Rebels have faced all year. They will need Davis and Crawford to continue pouring it in, and someone, anyone, to step up down low. This is a freebie game of sorts for the Rebs. Win and it’s a nice, shiny feather to put in your resume cap. Lose and you at least have somewhat of a decent loss early on your resume and you can learn and build off of it heading into December.
Get you a good nap in and/or drink lots of caffeine before this one tips off. It will be a late one locally.
Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nev. When: 11:30 p.m. CT TV: AT&T Sportsnet Online streaming: None