- The Ole Miss Rebels (8-8, 3-6 SEC) host the Tennessee Volunteers (12-3, 5-3 SEC) Tuesday, Feb. 2
- The Vols are coming off an 80-61 home win Saturday over Kansas, while Georgia beat Ole Miss 71-61 in Athens
- Read below for odds, analysis, and our best bet for this matchup
The Ole Miss Rebels (8-8, 3-6 SEC) will try to snap a two-game road losing skid as they return to Oxford to host the Tennessee Volunteers (12-3, 5-3 SEC) Tuesday, Feb. 2. Tip is set for 7 p.m. ET inside The Pavilion at Ole Miss.
Third-year Rebs coach Kermit Davis lost for the first time in Athens Saturday in a 71-61 defeat to the Bulldogs. Ole Miss, which is rated No. 120 by KenPom in adjusted offensive efficiency in the country (second-to-last in the SEC) experienced poor shooting, prolonged scoring droughts and critical defensive breakdowns in the ten-point loss.
Meantime, the Vols never trailed Saturday in beating the Jayhawks 80-61. Tennessee dominated the boards, outrebounding KU 38-23 and shot 53-percent from the field.
Tennessee vs Ole Miss Odds
|Tennessee||-6.5 (-102)||-270||Ov 146.5 (-112)|
|Ole Miss||+6.5 (-120)||+220||Un 146.5 (-108)|
Odds taken Jan. 31 at FanDuel.
Vols senior forward Yves Pons stayed hot against Kansas. The 6-foot-6 native of France had a game-high 17 points after putting up a career-high 24 against KU in a road loss last season. Pons has been especially efficient from the field over the last three games, shooting a combined 66-percent (19-of-29).
It’s been a completely different story for Ole Miss. The Rebels shot just 36-percent against UGA, while allowing a team that shot a combined 41 percent (23 percent from three) its last three games to put up a 55-percent effort from the field Saturday.
With the severe disparity in offensive efficiency, it’s no surprise that UT is the road favorite in this spot.
Pons has rightfully gotten attention for his recent performances, but it’s a freshman teammate that is the Vols’ true x-factor.
6-foot-4 guard Jaden Springer scored 13 for Tennessee against Kansas — whose only losses this season have come with Springer out of the lineup.
UT head coach Rick Barnes started Springer and fellow freshman Keon Johnson together for the first time Saturday. The lineup shakeup worked, especially on the defensive end. The Jayhawks took shots with less than 10 seconds on their first two possessions. UT forced a shot-clock violation on the third. For the game, Springer and Johnson’s perimeter D was on full display, as Kansas shot 38-percent from the field and only 25-percent on 3-pointers.
Expect Springer to start again Tuesday — and expect an already struggling Ole Miss offense to continue that trend.
Rebels junior forward KJ Buffen personifies the program’s issues. Once upon a time, Davis compared the once-highly regarded recruit to Chuma Okele, the Auburn player who eventually became a first-round NBA Drat pick by the Magic. But Buffen is a far cry from the former Tiger.
After 49 straight starts, Buffen started the Georgia game on the bench. Buffen only played six minutes, including a grand total of one in the second half. He hasn’t scored in double-figures against a single SEC opponent and he’s shooting only 34-percent from the field this season.
Davis noted the Gainesville, Georgia native is going through some personal things right now. But the lack of development is concerning.
You love to see it 😍
— Ole Miss Men’s Basketball (@OleMissMBB) January 31, 2021
Ole Miss had its moments against Georgia. But without any consistency — or breakout players stepping up — I’m fading the Rebs.
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The Voles, meanwhile, have been ranked as high as No. 7 in the AP poll and rated as high as No. 6 by KenPom this season. But after being blown out 75-49 by Florida on the road and getting beat by Missouri at home, Barnes’ team may have been doubting its selection as the favorite to win the SEC in the preseason media poll But thanks to a gut-check 56-53 home win against Mississippi State and Saturday’s big win over KU, it appears UT has its swag back.
Tennessee converted a ridiculous 61 percent (8-of-13) from three-point range against the Jayhawks and closed out its most efficient offensive game of the season — at least against a worthy opponent — with a balanced box score that saw
The Voles have five straight in this series and I see no reason why that streak won’t continue Tuesday. Six players scored at leas eight points or more and I expect that balanced attack to continue in Oxford.
The pick: Tennessee (-270)
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