After Ole Miss lost a close game to Missouri Tuesday night, head coach Andy Kennedy spoke on some of the things his team needs to do — and one thing they don’t.
“One thing that we can’t do is feel sorry for ourselves because no one feels sorry for us,” Kennedy said.
“This is big boy basketball and the SEC has never been better, top to bottom. Our heads are down, of course. If you feel sorry for yourself, we are going to go to LSU and they are going to get you again and then we are going to come home and Arkansas is going to get you. No one is going to feel sorry for us, we have to get up ourselves.“
Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy
On Saturday afternoon (3:00 p.m. CT, ESPNU), Ole Miss will take on LSU in Baton Rouge. With only seven games remaining for the Rebels before the Southeastern Conference men’s basketball tournament next month, a win on the road would do wonders for Kennedy’s team.
Ole Miss (11-13, 4-7 SEC) needs a victory to gain some confidence heading into the stretch run of league play. Likewise, Will Wade’s LSU team has also had its share of heartbreaks throughout the season.
The Tigers (13-10, 4-7) have lost four of their seven league games by eight points or less. LSU was a couple of plays away from defeating Kentucky, Georgia, and Vanderbilt. If the ball would’ve bounced the Tigers’ way, they might have been in position for a postseason tournament berth.
LSU is coming off a 73-64 road loss to Florida, and, just like the Rebels, the Tigers are looking to get back into the win column.
As for what Kennedy feels his team needs to do, the dean of SEC coaches offered some thoughts after the game with Missouri.
“Turnovers hadn’t been an issue. We made free throws at a decent clip. We knew rebounding was going to be a problem, and we haven’t seemed to get that solved. We need to be more efficient out of the backcourt. Three of the five (guards) have to play a B+ game for us to win another game, I know that. We have to play and make the plays that the SEC game allows in order for us to win the game.”
Three things to watch in Saturday’s matchup
1. Take care of the basketball
Ole Miss took care of the basketball in its 75-69 loss to Missouri Tuesday night, committing only four turnovers. The Rebels will need to do the same against LSU’s Tremont Waters, who’s one of the Tigers’ best perimeter defenders. He leads the SEC with 50 steals this season, ranking 25th in the nation.
2. Terence Davis
Junior forward Terence Davis needs to play like he did against Mizzou earlier in the week–and like he did the last time the Rebels and LSU met. He scored a career-high 33 points when the Rebels and the Bayou Bengals met in February of last year. He notched 20 points against Missouri Tuesday, his sixth 20-point game of the season, and if Ole Miss is going to win in Baton Rouge, the bottom line is Davis needs to play well.
3. 3-point shooting
When the Rebels shoot over 30 percent from long range, their record is 10-4. When they shoot under 30 percent, their record is 1-9. They shot 29.4 percent (5-for-17) against Missouri Tuesday night. Ole Miss averages 8.3 3-pointers per game, ranking Kennedy’s team 6th in the SEC.
Ole Miss and LSU tip off at 3:00 p.m. Saturday in the Pete Maravich Center in Baton Rouge. The game will be televised on ESPNU with Taylor Zarzour handling play-by-play duties and Kyle Macy at analyst. The last meeting between the two teams was February 14, 2017, and the Rebels won, 86-76 in Oxford, Miss.