Ole Miss basketball by the numbers: what’s gone wrong?

Published 5:14 pm Friday, February 28, 2020

The 2019-20 season has not lived up to expectations for Ole Miss on the basketball court.

After Kermit Davis’s inaugural season saw the Rebels go 20-13, winning 10 games in conference play and making the NCAA Tournament, the current iteration of the Rebels sit at 13-14 and just four SEC wins, with three regular season games to go.

A team with quite a bit of contribution from last year, sporting an All-SEC backcourt, Ole Miss had NCAA Tournament hopes again this season. Simply put, they’ve fallen well short of those expectations. With three games left, let’s look at where this season has gotten off the rails for Ole Miss:

One: Ole Miss has won one true road game

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The Rebels are 10-5 at home this year, including three of their four conference wins – a pretty respectable number. They’ve picked up two more wins on neutral courts. However, when Ole Miss ventured into hostile territory, they’ve struggled. Ole Miss is 1-9 on the road this season, the sole win coming in a 70-60 game against a 14-14 Georgia team in Athens.

10.3 percent: Ole Miss bench players account for only 11.3 percent of points in SEC play

The Ole Miss starters have been productive this year. The problem is, they’re getting next to nothing from the bench. In conference play, 910 of the team’s 1,014 points scored have come from starters, a number totaling 89.7-percent.

149th: Ole Miss ranks No. 149 in the nation via Kenpom’s adjusted offensive efficiency

Kenpom.com, an website tracking college basketball efficiency, does not favor the Rebels this season. The Ole Miss defense is actually relatively highly ranked, but the offensive numbers are ugly. In five of the last eight games, Ole Miss has failed to reach 70 points, and as a team they’re shooting only 41.7 percent from the field, so it makes sense the efficiency has been down.

198th: Ole Miss ranks No. 198 nationally via Kenpom adjusted tempo ratings

This is more of a Kermit Davis philosophy stat. Sure, Ole Miss will get out and run on a fast break given a good opportunity, but they prefer operating in a half-court offense. The method of defense, specifically when Ole Miss goes to a 1-3-1 defense, also tends to slow down the other team and thus the game, limiting possessions on both ends of the floor.

305th: Ole Miss is one of the unluckiest teams in the country via Kenpom, ranking 305th in luck

As ugly as the records are, Kenpom also suggests Ole Miss is one of the unluckiest basketball teams in the nation this year. Of 353 Division I college basketball teams, the Rebels rank No. 305 in luck. In conference play alone, they’ve played in four games decided by one score and are 0-4 in those games. In SEC games decided by 10 or less points, the team is 1-8.

1,738: Breein Tyree is the SEC’s active leader in career points

The season hasn’t been all bad for the Rebels. Senior guard Breein Tyree is going to end his career among the most decorated scorers in Ole Miss history. Averaging 20.4 points this season, he’s the conference’s active leader in points (1,738) and field goals made (583). Tyree has had four games of 34 points or more this season.

29.0 percent: Ole Miss is limiting opponents to 29 percent from beyond the arc, ranking second in the conference

The Ole Miss defense, the one that’s ranked No. 73 nationally by Kenpom, has actually been really good at closing out on shooters this season. The 29 percent opponents are shooting from downtown against Ole Miss ranks them No. 14 in the nation.

With all the low points from this year, it’s still not technically too late to salvage the Ole Miss season. They can still make the NCAA Tournament with a run in the SEC Tournament coming soon from Nashville. Next up, a very winnable home game against 9-19 Vanderbilt on Saturday at noon on SEC Network.