What We Learned From Coach Davis’ Press Conference
OXFORD, Miss. – This coming Saturday, Ole Miss men’s basketball will play its regular season finale at home against Vanderbilt. The Commodores burst the Rebels’ bubble on February 27, defeating Ole Miss 75-70 in Nashville, making their path to the NCAA Tournament that much tougher.
As of now, the Rebels currently sit at 76th in Joe Lunardi’s bracketology rankings. That puts them in the next four out with the Vanderbilt game and SEC tournament left on the schedule.
Ole Miss currently sits at 7th in the SEC; however, the Rebels have avenues to finish the regular season anywhere from 5th to 8th in the conference.
In order for a 5th place finish to occur, Ole Miss would need to: A) Beat Vanderbilt, B) Have Missouri lose To LSU, and C) Have Tennessee lose to Florida. Preseason predictions had Ole Miss finishing around 8th or 9th in the conference, so the team is in position to exceed national media expectations.
— Joe Lunardi (@ESPNLunardi) March 4, 2021
Final Go-Round for Shuler and White
Come Saturday, at least two Ole Miss Rebels will no doubt be experiencing a multitude of emotions as both Devontae Shuler and Romello White are expected to go through Senior Night ceremonies in The Pavilion.
Shuler, who has taken on a leadership role this season, has embodied what it means to be a true Rebel throughout his four year career. In his senior season, the South Carolina native has seen his play grow as he helped navigate the Rebels through the unique Covid-19 season.
Prior to Saturday, is averaging 16.0 points per game on the season — which is tied for 7th best in the SEC. He also ranks Top-10 in the SEC in the following categories: Steals, Assists, Three Point Field Goals Made, Minutes Played, Usage and Win Shares.
White came to finish out his career at Ole Miss after spending four years at Arizona State. The Georgia native, a former Top-100 recruit, has proven to be the heart and hustle of this Ole Miss team. He came in as one of the most coveted grad-transfers on the market, bringing tons of experience with him. His greatest strength has been his low-post presence and defensive rim protection. The transfer has averaged 11.0 points per game and 5.8 rebounds per game.
SENIOR NIGHT 🔜 @Devontae_Shuler | @mellosworld_23 pic.twitter.com/zkdj8l1wTS
— Ole Miss Men’s Basketball (@OleMissMBB) March 4, 2021
Saturday’s contest may be the last for the duo as Rebels, but it should only be celebrated as the last game those two play in the Pavilion as the Ole Miss team gears up for postseason play.
The Rebels are positioned to try and make a last-minute run at finding a way into the NCAA tournament while also having the possibility of playing in the NIT tournament.
Team Loses Two Players Ahead of Finale
Coach Kermit Davis announced that both Khadim Sy and Dimencio Vaughn have left the program. Davis cited personal reasons for the departures of the two.
Sy came to Ole Miss after previous stops at Daytona State and Virginia Tech. He was the No. 3 overall JUCO prospect in the 2018-2019 class prior to arriving at Ole Miss.
In the 2019-2020 season, Sy started 29 games and averaged 29.5 minutes per game in a season that saw him come on towards the end. In the 2020-2021, season Sy has battled lingering injuries that have limited his playing time, but his ability to stretch the floor as a big was definitely noticeable for the team.
Vaughn came to Ole Miss as a graduate transfer from Rider. While at Rider, he earned All-MAAC First Team honors twice. He played in 95 games and averaged 13.0 points per game over his three-year career there.
On this Ole Miss team, Vaughn found himself in a new role as a depth wing. Seeing action in sixteen games for the Rebels this season, he notched his best performance in a January contest against Mississippi State where he tallied seven points and three rebounds.
Ole Miss hosts Vanderbilt Saturday, March 6, at 6:00 p.m. in The Pavilion.
TJ Oxley is the Director of Basketball Content and Senior Basketball Writer for The Rebel Walk. He has over five years of experience providing in-depth analysis of college basketball through multiple platforms. A former MBA graduate of Ole Miss, TJ started with The Rebel Walk in 2019.