A different approach: Kenny Williams wasn’t happy with his performance in the Rebels’ 88-68 loss in Starkville and pledges a different “approach with more energy” tonight against Vanderbilt.
“Me and DC catching fouls early our team mentally,” Williams said. “We knew we were going into a hostile environment, and there’s no way you can get the freshmen ready for that. Me and DC getting those fouls affected our whole team.”
Williams played an SEC-low 19 minutes against Mississippi State. He was 1-for-4 from the floor, 0-for-3 from the free throw line and finished with two points and three rebounds, well below his averages of 8.1 points and 7.8 boards.
Williams is an energy player, and he feeds off Jermey Parnell to some degree. With Parnell out for the foreseeable future, the Rebels need Williams to be a self-starter and regain that high level of energy.
1,000-point Curtis: Senior center Dwayne Curtis needs 17 points to become the school’s 30th member of the 1,000 point club.I don’t know what rights and privileges go along with being a member of that club, but it’s a nice achievement for any player.
Curtis has been a consistent double-figurer scorer throughout his career. He’s had to overcome some obstacles too, like injuries to both feet and two years ago the car accident, lingering hospitalization and eventual death of his brother.
Given the 45 points he scored as a freshman at Auburn, Curtis has already scored 1,38 points in his collegiate career.
Still a strong start: Despite the recent road struggles, a win over Vanderbilt would make the Rebels 16-3 and would equal the start of the 1936-37 team, the best through 19 games in school history.
The 1925-26 team started 16-1 before losing to North Carolina in the Southern Conference tournament to conclude an 18-game schedule at 16-2. That team averaged a whopping 40.6 points per game. I bet they also played in those really short shorts and didn’t dunk much.
Kennedy 1-1 vs. Vandy: Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy is 1-1 against Vanderbilt. Both games have been contested at the Commodores’ Memorial Gym. Ole Miss lost there 85-80 last season. Kennedy won there as Cincinnati’s interim coach in 2006 by a score of 92-83.
Vanderbilt had lost eight straight games at Tad Smith Coliseum before winning there 77-65 in 2004 and 77-62 in 2006.
Some matchups that could favor Ole Miss tonight: Despite the presence of big freshman A.J. Ogilvy, the Commodores are rebounding at only a plus-2 margin. The Rebels, once leading the SEC, have slipped a little but are still tied for the conference lead at plus-6.6.
This is an energy stat, and it’s where playing at home could help.
Elsewhere … Vanderbilt is annually one of the top 3-point shooting teams in the SEC, and the Dores lead the conference and rank fourth in the nation in 3-point percentage.
Not a good sign for an Ole Miss team that has given up 3s in transition and from the 2-3 zone.
However, Vanderbilt is near the bottom in field goal defense and 3-point defense.
Watching Trevor Gaskins and David Huertas struggle the last two games, it’s hard to imagine the Rebels exploiting that weakness.
But I have seen Ole Miss really light it up in some home games, and it could have an advantage there if one of those players, or perhaps Eniel Polynice, finds a hot hand.