Ole Miss is up to No. 18 in both major polls.
Ole Miss is up to No. 18 in both major polls.
The updated polls will be released later today. Ole Miss won its only game as the No. 22 team last week. The Rebels play at home against Alabama A&M Wednesday, their final non-conference game before opening SEC play at No. 11 Tennessee, the league favorite, the following weekend.
One of the first things we learned in J-school was that there are many different ways to define something as “news.”
If you assign news value based on overachievement and success, I would say the Lady Rebels run to the Elite Eight is the runaway winner for top Ole Miss sports story for 2007.
If you base news value on one person’s impact on a larger number of people — say the way Time is prone to make somebody like Osama Bin Laden as its newsmaker of the year — then the end of the Ed Orgeron Era would be Ole Miss’ top news story.
Say what you want about Ed, and lots of people have said lots of things, but Ed’s approach to running a football program always gave you something to write about. Sometimes it was something you couldn’t write about.
Anyway, for the sake of this argument I will assign the overachievement and success angle for news value and pick the women’s basketball team as my top Ole Miss story.
What say ye?
I ran into Romaro Miller, the former Ole Miss quarterback, at the basketball game last night. Romaro works in investments with First Tennessee up this way. He said Wayne Madkin, the winningest starting quarterback in Mississippi State history, was in town for the Liberty Bowl. Madkin called and suggested the two of them get together, and that was the plan for last night.
A few observations from Ole Miss’ 78-58 win over Southern Miss.
— Not only did the win set a school record for start to a season with 12 wins in a row, it tied the record for an overall win streak. The Rebels will set a record with their 13th straight win if they beat Alabama A&M in Oxford on Jan. 2.
— The Rebels have gotten a lot of production from their press and have forced a lot of turnovers, but with solid guard play from Jeremy Wise and R.L. Horton, Southern Miss broke the press rather easily in the first half, and that created a lot of shot attempts from point blank range, even though the Golden Eagles didn’t shoot a particularly high percentage.
— There don’t seem to be many minutes right now for junior college transfer Terrence Watson. Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy says Watson is still “trying to figure things out” at the Division I level. Watson’s energy and athleticism allow him to be a productive defensive player, and he’s made some big plays in the press at time this year.
But he’s not a perimeter scorer, and at 6-5 he’s not about to break into a rotation among the frontcourt players.
The primary minutes there will continue to go to seniors Dwayne Curtis, Kenny Williams and Jermey Parnell. What’s left will go to freshman Malcolm White, a top 100 recruit that Kennedy is trying to develop for next season when White will be thrust into a much larger role.
Perhaps Watson will be at that time as well.
— Eniel Polynice had a nice game last night. He was able to get to the rim a lot against a Southern Miss lineup that wasn’t overly large. He didn’t finish plays like he needed to at times, but the athletic sophomore still finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds. He missed a quadruple by one offensive rebound and one assist, getting nine in both categories.
— Freshman point guard Chris Warren continues to make big plays and to make them at critical times. The Golden Eagles had edged out to an eight-point lead at 24-16 when Warren knocked down 3-pointers on back-to-back trips.
— Florida transfer guard David Huertas continues to distance himself from a slow start. He was 5-for-8 from the floor, 2-for-5 from 3-point range for 12 points. He also had four assists and three steals in 23 minutes.
— Senior guard Brian Smith was very effective running the team and keeping things settled down while Warren sat in foul trouble in the second half. Smith was 2-for-3 from 3-point range in 11 minutes.
— Freshman Zach Graham also had a nice game off the bench, filling up the stat columns in Polynice-like manner. In 13 minutes Graham had eight points, two rebounds, an assist and two steals.
Rebels pull away late. The game was closer than this. Nice quality win for Ole Miss against a team that lost at Alabama by two points.
Been having wireless problems. Rebels can’t seem to pull away from Southern, which is getting great performances from guards Jeremy Wise and R.L. Horton.
Looks like Southern Miss 7-footer Gjio Bain will play, and it’s another unfortunate USM player on crutches who is out indefinitely.
In three games without Bain, who is averaging 9.6 rebounds, the Golden Eagles were 2-1. The wins were against a very bad Louisiana Tech team and Alcorn State. The loss was against McNeese State.
Ole Miss’ freshmen guards have gotten rave reviews this season. Another impressive young player to watch tonight will be Southern Miss freshman R.L. Horton. A Jackson Lanier product who was named Mr. Basketball for Mississippi by the Clarion-Ledger last year, Horton is averaging 13 points, 3 rebounds and 1.9 assists.
Southern Miss big man Gjio Bain (Nassau, Bahamas) is indeed out with a foot injury. He’s missed the last three games and is out indefinitely.
Just got back from a few family days in Meridian. I’m in the office now but heading home to reload the travel bag and get on the road to Southaven.
Christmas travel creates interesting work situations for people. The Ole Miss players scattered different directions from the Atlanta airport. Basketball media relations director Joey Jones was able to get a little time off and head home to Macon. He tried to help me reach Dwayne Curtis yesterday, but Curtis seemed to have vanished.
Anyway, when I talked to Joey he was traveling back to Oxford but had stopped in a parking lot outside an Atlanta hotel to “borrow” their wireless signal while he took care of some basketball notes.
I told Joey I bet he could just go inside, and the desk folks would let him set up in the lobby, but he said the signal was plenty strong from the parking lot.
I agree with Matt’s post below. Southern Miss has some athletes and could present a problem tonight if the Rebels are lollygagging (whatever that means, my high school coach used it a lot, and I think it applies here) after beating Clemson and breaking into the polls.
I will be surprised if there’s a complete drop in intensity. With Southern Miss and Alabama A&M remaining, it would be a disappointment if this team was not unbeaten going to Tennessee on Jan. 9.