Thoughts and observations from Ole Miss’ 82-80 loss to Mississippi State.
That the Rebels were in position to play for a .500 SEC season in the finale is quite impressive, given the injuries and whatnot.
They may be at the end of the tank, however. Terrico White, the freshman upon whom the Rebels have leaned for so many big plays, describes the team as battered and bruised.
Two other times this season I thought Ole Miss was nearing the end of the tank, but it has rallied and played well. Winning on the road at Arkansas without your leading scorer and using only seven players was big.
Unfortunately, Will Bogan is not ready to provide 16 points and seven assists every night. This team is going to need David Huertas for any kind of postseason success, and Huertas status with his bruised foot is up in the air. Injuries like that tend to linger, so it’s not clear what role Huertas will be able to play Thursday in Tampa against either Vanderbilt or Kentucky.
They will need Huertas against either team. They needed him yesterday against MSU, and for a time Huertas made some big plays — even if it looked like he was pressing in the first half. Clearly they could have used his play-making and big-shot potential in the second half when he was on the bench with ice on his foot. Terrico White struggled most of the second half.
Malcolm White played very well and was making some shots. But he was making tough shots, and Malcolm has only one shot, whereas Terrico can score a variety of ways. When Terrico is struggling, it shows.
Credit State’s Dee Bost from some solid defense in the second half, though Terrico has made many times this season the shots he took yesterday.
There was quite a carrot dangling for the winner yesterday, the chance to play Georgia in the first round. I know Georgia picked up wins against Vanderbilt and Kentucky down the stretch, but that was a pretty bad basketball team that played in Oxford.
Anyway, Vanderbilt and Kentucky can both be had, and there’s still an NIT motivation for Ole Miss.
The question this week will be what can the Rebels get from Huertas, and can they find the Fayetteville rhythm if that answer is nothing.