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Ole Miss Men’s Basketball Travels to Georgia for Rebels’ Final Road Game of the Year

Ole Miss Men’s Basketball Travels to Georgia for Rebels’ Final Road Game of the Year

OXFORD, Miss. — After a win in Columbia, Missouri Saturday night, the Ole Miss Rebels (20-9, 7-9 SEC) look forward toward their final road game of the season tonight as they travel to Athens to face the Georgia Bulldogs (15-14, 5-11 SEC). 

The Rebels are entering Athens off a much-needed victory over the Missouri Tigers. In the first half, Ole Miss stormed out to a very comfortable 19-point lead that included a 22-3 run, and the Rebels led 45-26 at the break.

Unfortunately, the second half was not the same story. Missouri did not surrender to the Rebs; rather, the Tigers were able cut the Ole Miss lead to two points with two minutes to go in the game. Missouri outscored the Rebels 52-39 in the second half, but Ole Miss was able to hang on by a score of 84-78. With this victory, Chris Beard’s team was able to pick up its 7th win in SEC and stop a three-game losing streak.

Because of the 84-78 win, the Rebels were able to move back into ESPN’s Joe Lunardi’s bracketology report. Ole Miss now ranks as one of the “Next” Next Four Out. The Rebs are currently in the same tier as James Madison, Texas A&M, and Kansas St.

There are currently 10 teams ahead of the Rebels for the coveted last spot in the NCAA Tournament. One of those teams is a familiar foe in the Memphis Tigers. With a win over Memphis, and a win at Texas A&M (potentially another this Saturday), the Rebels already have key victories over teams ahead of them. Chris Beard’s squad needs to win out, and see some other bubble teams have poor weeks and poor conference tournament performances.

Regarding the SEC Tournament, Ole Miss is still the 9 seed in the SEC tournament. As of right now, the Rebs are still slated to play 8 seed LSU in Nashville next week. The Rebels are pretty much cemented into the 9 seed or 10 seed. This weekend’s clash with Texas A&M will determine if the Rebs are a 9 seed playing LSU or a 10 seed playing Mississippi St. Both of these games will be taking place on the second day of the tournament. 

Unlike Ole Miss, the Georgia Bulldogs will definitely be playing on Day 1 of the SEC Tournament. At 5-11 in conference play, the Dawgs are one of the lower tier SEC teams. The Bulldogs, losers of three straight, are in the midst of their second straight home game. Most recently, Georgia fell at home to Texas A&M, 70-56.

In order for Ole Miss to continue to climb back in the NCAA Tournament picture, games like this are a must win. To understand who are the Georgia Bulldogs and what Ole Miss needs to do to come away victorious in their final road test of the season, scroll down as I welcome you to another edition of “Scouting the Opposition,” The Georgia Bulldogs Edition.

Who are the Georgia Bulldogs?

Head coach Mike White’s team was predicted to finish near the bottom of the SEC standings in the preseason predictions. The Dawgs were chosen as the 12th best team in the SEC, and with two games left in the season, Georgia has all but proven those predictions correct. With a 5-11 conference record, the Dawgs are sitting in the 11 spot at the time of writing. 

Georgia had actually started out SEC play very well with a 4-2 record, which included an away victory over the nationally ranked South Carolina Gamecocks. Since that 4-2 start, the Dawgs have only won one out of their last ten games. This is not the finishing stretch Coach White’s team was dreaming of; however, they did have really close losses to Florida, LSU, and Arkansas over the 10-game stretch. If a bucket or a missed shot went their way, we are talking about a completely different Georgia team, and one that is in the NCAA Tournament conversation just like Ole Miss. 

Georgia is a team that takes care of business with weaker opponents and struggles against better competition. The Dawgs defeated all of their “buy” games in the non-conference and whipped up on the bottom teams in the SEC standings such as Vanderbilt, Missouri, and Arkansas.

However, Georgia has only three Q1 and Q2 victories all season. Two of the three victories came in the non-conference against ACC teams, Wake Forest and Florida St. Their first and only Q1 victory came over South Carolina. Below is a full breakdown of their quad wins/losses:

Q1: 1-6

Q2: 2-8

Q3: 6-0

Q4: 6-0

With Georgia’s poor record against Q1 and Q2 teams, Ole Miss fans should be very excited about this matchup. The Dawgs have rarely beaten better teams all season and are having their worst slump all year by winning just one out of their last ten games. 

For the Rebels, the Georgia game constitutes another Q2 opportunity. With a 3-2 record in Q2, Ole Miss is looking to add another quality win to their resume. With that said, let’s jump into the Bulldogs scouting report!

Scouting the Bulldogs

The Georgia Bulldogs are led by a senior backcourt of Noah Thomasson and Jabari Abdur-Rahim. Thomasson, the team’s primary ball handler, is currently averaging 12.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg, and 1.8 apg. Thomasson is a graduate transfer from Niagara, and is one of the leaders of Georgia’s three-point barrage.

The Bulldogs are one of the highest three-point volume shooting teams in the SEC. By taking 24.8 threes per game, good for third in the conference, they have amassed a 42% three-point attempt rate. This means the Georgia shooters throw up three point shots 42% of the time compared to two-point attempts.

Noah currently averages 6.6 3PAs per game which puts him in the 95th percentile among shooters in the NCAA. In addition to that, Thomasson is in the top 10 in the SEC in three-point makes and attempts. The primary ball handler loves his catch and shoot threes, and he is one of the main reasons why Georgia is such a high volume three point shooting team.

The second member of the Dawgs senior backcourt, Jabari Adbur-Rahim, is another main reason for Georgia’s three-point shooting numbers. Adbur Rahim is averaging 12.2 ppg and 3.5 rpg. These are almost identical numbers to his senior counterpart, Thomasson.

Similar to Thomasson, Abdur-Rahim also averages 6.6 3PAs per game and is in the top 10 in the SEC in three-point makes and attempts. Unlike Thomasson who can score at all three levels, Abdur-Rahim lives and dies by the three. He only shoots 40.6% from two which is in the 21st percentile among active shooters. Compare this to his three point percentage of 31.1% which is in the 40th percentile. He is not the most effective shooter from behind the arc; however, he does like to put up shots with his 6.6 3PAs per game. 

Abdur-Rahim is not the type of player that is going to beat you inside the perimeter. He rarely drives the basketball, and prefers to make his living from outside the perimeter. It will be key for Ole Miss to contain Abdur-Rahim on the perimeter and make him beat you inside rather than behind the arc. However, when he does get to the line, he is the second-most accurate free throw shooter in the SEC at 89.2%. 

The Dawgs shooting numbers do not just come from two players. A name to watch off the Bulldogs bench is freshman Blue Cain. Outside of having one of the best/most unique names in college hoops. Cain is one of the Dawgs streakiest shooters. He is a super quick, bigger guard, 6-foot 5, who can catch lightning in the bottle at any point in time. Blue Cain was a very highly touted recruit from Knoxville, Tennessee. The consensus 63rd best high school player in the country in 2023 is a huge contributor to the Bulldogs bench, which ranks 20th in the entire country. 

Another name to watch out for coming off the bench is RJ Melendez. Melendez is a junior transfer from Illinois who spent most of his season in the starting lineup. However, since early February, Melendez has come off the bench in the 6th man role. Off the bench, Melendez is averaging 9.9ppg and 4.3 rebounds. A scorer on all three levels of the court, he is one of the Dawgs more efficient shooters.

With a 47.7% FG shooting percentage and a 59% 2P%, Melendez is a player Ole Miss needs to neutralize. At 6-foot 7, the guard loves to score from inside the perimeter, but is not afraid to knock down some corner threes with his 3.3 3PAs per game. 

The Bulldogs typically play at a relatively slow pace offensively — not a South Carolina level slow, but they are 8th in the SEC in pace. This is because the Dawgs typically like to play ISO basketball with Thomasson and typically love to play in a half court set. It is very rare for Georgia to push to basketball. Georgia ranks near the bottom of the SEC in assists and assist/turnover ratio. This is a team that does not pride itself on consistent ball movement. 

Outside of Thomasson, the offense is primarily run but freshman guard Silas Demary Jr. Demary is a highly-touted freshman from Raleigh, NC and the number 61 player in the 2023 class. Demary averages 9.7ppg, 3.8 rpg, and 2.5apg.

Demary had very high hopes when he stepped foot on the Georgia campus in August, and he was projected to be a second round pick by many NBA scouts. Unfortunately, his projections have not held up, and he is not on many of the draft boards at this time. This is not to say Demary has not had a great season. The six-foot five guard has actually had a really good season. He is a super crafty point guard whose main mission is to get down to the basket. Demary loves to go downhill and score around the rim. He is very creative when it comes to scoring down low, and happens to be fouled a ton around the rim. He currently averages 5.3 free throws per game. 

Coach White’s Georgia Bulldogs love to use Demary in many ISO opportunities because of his creativity and craftiness. He is also one of the better passers on the Bulldogs roster. Georgia typically likes to run a lot of flare screens in order for their three pointer shooters to get open. Demary typically initiates these screens and passes it off to either Abdur-Rahim, Cain, and Thomasson in the corner off the flare screen. 

Outside of just initiating offense and driving to the rim, Demary is a very good defensive player. He is currently in the top 10 in steals in the SEC with 1.5 per game.

The team as a whole is not a very good defensive team. The Bulldogs are currently ranked 331st in the NCAA in defensive rating, and the Dawgs give up an average of 78.6 ppg in conference play. Even though Georgia is a taller team, the Bulldogs really struggled at defending shooters. The Dawgs rank 13th in opponent FG%, dead last in 2 point FG%, and 11th in 3 point FG%. These are not the numbers that Coach White wants to see from his experienced team.

On the bright side, the Bulldogs do limit their personal fouls and opposing team’s bench scoring. Opposing benches only average 19.2 PPG which is good for 2nd best in the SEC. 

The final player that we need to touch on is senior center Russel Tchewa. Tschewa is a two-time transfer by way of Texas Tech then USF. Tschewa is Georgia’s leading rebounder with 6.6 per game, and is in the top 10 in the SEC in RPG. He is a big-bodied and physical center who gives other teams fits.

The same will be for Ole Miss as Tschewa has bullied skinnier centers all season on the boards. Georgia as a whole is not one of the better rebounding teams in the conference, and they do not always have many second chance opportunities; however, Tschewa has been changing that narrative over the last 5 games. The Dawgs rebounding % has dramatically increased over their last 5 games. 

Tschewa is not just one of the best rebounders on the team, he is also a facilitator on the offensive end. In most of the Dawgs half court sets, Tschewa loves to get a touch in the high post because he is a very good passer and loves to find open shooters or cutters cutting to the basket. Look for Georgia to run a lot of offense through Tschewa in order to get Ole Miss’ big men outside of the paint. 

When Tschewa is not on the floor, Georgia is much more perimeter oriented. Georgia gets off a lot of their three point looks when he is not on the floor. As the only true big man on the Bulldogs’ roster, Georgia does give up many paint points when Tschewa is not there. The Dawgs are currently 10th in the SEC in opposing points in the paint. Look for Ole Miss to exploit the non-Tschewa minutes by attacking the paint and continuing the trend of poor paint defense for the Bulldogs.

As I said for the Missouri game, winning on the road in the SEC is always a tough challenge. But in Ole Miss’ final true road game of the season, I expect the Rebels to be firing on all cylinders as they try and collect as many quality wins to continue to put themselves in the NCAA Tournament discussion.

Game Info

Make sure to catch the Ole Miss Rebels as they travel to Athens, Georgia to take on the Georgia Bulldogs tonight at 6 CST. The game will air on the SEC Network. 

Coleman Young

Coleman Young

Coleman Young is a 2021 graduate of Ole Miss. Born and raised in Baltimore, Coleman has always been an avid basketball fan, growing up watching the Maryland Terrapins. His love for college hoops grew even more when he attended Ole Miss in 2017. Coleman is a huge fan of all Ole Miss sports as well as the Baltimore Ravens and Orioles. He was previously an Ole Miss College Hoops contributor at

About The Author

Coleman Young

Coleman Young is a 2021 graduate of Ole Miss. Born and raised in Baltimore, Coleman has always been an avid basketball fan, growing up watching the Maryland Terrapins. His love for college hoops grew even more when he attended Ole Miss in 2017. Coleman is a huge fan of all Ole Miss sports as well as the Baltimore Ravens and Orioles. He was previously an Ole Miss College Hoops contributor at

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