First off, Missouri is a different team with Laurence Bowers on the court. With that being said, even without their star forward, the Tigers were seemingly outplayed and out-matched on Saturday night.
Led by a 22-point performance from Murphy Holloway, Ole Miss controlled the tempo and held Missouri to only 49 points of offense. The Rebels extend a nine point halftime lead by six after the break, knocking off the tenth-ranked Tigers by a final score of 64-49.
The reaction to Ole Miss’ upset victory on Saturday may have gone a bit overshadowed by the mere fact that the nation’s No. 1 team also went down or maybe it was because the game was being played while much of the nation was focused on a pair of divisional NFL Playoff games.
Either way, the attention and discussion needs to start coming in favor of the Rebels and their hot start.
While Ole Miss was seemingly unchallenged during the non-conference slate, they have reached a point in the season where they sit at 13-2 overall and now 2-0 within the SEC. Most importantly, they now have a win over a top ten opponent to boot.
So, now the question must be asked, is it time to take Ole Miss seriously? And just how much of a contender could they really become in the SEC this year?
Well, let’s pump the breaks real quick, back-to-back wins to begin conference play is great, but there is still plenty of work to do before they are categorized as an NCAA Tournament team. However, an intriguing three-game stretch could garner even more hype, not because of the competition, but because of their opportunity to continue racking up wins.
A Tuesday night contest at Vanderbilt is one that the Rebels can’t afford to slide back on, this is a game they need to win if they want to be taken seriously. They will then follow things up with back-to-back home games against Arkansas and a Tennessee squad that they have already defeated once.
So, look at the next three contests. Ole Miss should the opportunity to win them all and if they do, their overall marks would be even more impressive, both overall and in the conference. However, it’s important to take one game at a time at this standpoint, but certainly head coach Andy Kennedy may have his eyes on what could be, down the line.
Paul Seaver is the College Basketball Network Manager at Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS