Podcast: It’s a big double header weekend for hoops and baseball

Ole Miss baseball is on the road and hoops is at home, both in search of big momentum swings.

The Rebs will hit the diamond and the hardwood this weekend in search of big wins. The Diamondsharks won on Wednesday but are hoping to iron out some wrinkles in the weekend rotation against Tulane. The good news: junior Thomas Dillard is crushing it. We talk about his offensive onslaught and whether he’s a legitimate Golden Spikes Award candidate.

Over at The Pavilion, the Rebels will look to get that good vibe back against Georgia after suffering a tough road loss to South Carolina. Kermit Davis’ team is still in good shape when it comes to the NCAA Tournament and a win this weekend would only strengthen that resume.


If you like New Orleans-inspired cuisine go see Kelly and his crew in Memphis at Second Line or Restaurant Iris for some fantastic food. And if you like gambling and good food, go see to the Magnolia House in Biloxi’s Harrah’s Gulf Coast. Blackjack, slots, Southern cooking—what’s not to like?

And when you’re in Oxford, go see Greg and the good folks at LB’s Meat Market, the inaugural sponsor of this here podcast, to celebrate with the best protein for your Ole Miss grilling needs this weekend. And be sure to tell him RED CUP SENT YA for exclusive deals and promotions!

THE SEASON: Ole Miss Men’s Basketball – Texas A&M

Join the Rebs as they begin a four-game winning streak with a victory over Texas A&M. Plus, take a closer look at Terence Davis and his career at Ole Miss.

The Ole Miss/Memphis game will now feature 300 percent more party

The Liberty Bowl is getting three party decks to help everyone forget what game they’re watching.

In an attempt to make things more festive for Memphis football fans and give them yet another place to talk about how Tiger basketball is definitely back, the powers that be have allegedly arranged for the addition of three Liberty Bowl party decks, which will feature food, alcohol, and sweeping views of the 55 percent capacity crowd. While the details have not been revealed, you can assume they won’t be giving these tickets away at Kroger.

What this means for you, dear reader, is that instead of spending four hours on a metal bleacher watching an Ole Miss/Memphis game in debilitating heat, you can spend four hours moving and shaking in PARTYTOWN USA while watching an Ole Miss/Memphis game in debilitating heat. I can think of no better way to take in Ole Miss’ inevitable 44-27 loss to Memphis to open the 2019 season.

I do have concerns about logistics here. The article says the party decks will be located in the north end zone, which could affect the tarps Memphis usually uses to cover wide swaths of empty seats.

What ramifications will this have on the Memphis tarp industry? Can it withstand this potential loss of business? Is there time for the industry to pivot to something else? WILL PEOPLE BE ABLE TO REMEMBER THAT THE MEMPHIS ATHLETICS WEBSITE IS GOTIGERSGO DOT COM?

More importantly, what will be the official names of these party decks? If they’re named something like Local Alcohol Company Partaaaay Deckz and not after the various members of Three 6 Mafia*, then I, for one, will send an indignant letter to someone who won’t read it. And by letter, I mean tweet, assuming I remember that I said this.

*This is a free idea, Memphis. WRITE IT DOWN.

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that you have another option on August 31, 2019. The smartest option is obviously to not go, but I understand why you would because the dummy writing these words voluntarily attended David Cutcliffe’s 3-0 win over Memphis in the Liberty Bowl in 1999. I’m not saying he should’ve been fired immediately after that, but he should’ve been fired and sent to prison immediately after that.

A second option is to go sweat it out with the rest of the poors in a seat that will likely have the same value as 30 percent of a Memphis football season ticket package. Of course, you could also always cough up those VIP dollars for, or worm your way in to, Project Pat’s Casa de Sizzurp* for unlimited margs and other elixirs that will temporarily dull the pain of what promises to be a season to forget.

*ANOTHER FREE IDEA, MEMPHIS

Whatever you decide to do on that day, friends, you will still be watching an Ole Miss/Memphis game and hate every second of it.

Ole Miss hosted some important recruits last weekend

Last weekend’s Junior Day rendered a commitment and some crucial unofficial visits.

Matt Luke and his staff wrapped up a top-25 class earlier this month after late signatures from blue chippers Jerrion Ealy, Jonathan Mingo and Lakia Henry. Ole Miss now turns its attention to the 2020 and 2021 classes.

Last weekend, the Rebels held their annual Junior Day. A host of top recruits, both juniors and seniors, were on in Oxford to meet with coaches. Here are the top names you should know.

2021 WR Brandon Buckhaulter

While on his visit, Buckhaulter became the first Rebel commit of the 2021. The 6’3, 190-pounder has yet to be ranked by 247Sports but he has the frame and makeup to be a top-level prospect.

“I just felt home again,” Buckhaulter told the Ole Miss Spirit’s David Johnson. “It’s always been that way. I felt at home today, and I knew I might do it, if I felt at home again today. [Wide receivers] Coach [Jacob] Peeler and Coach Luke made me feel at home again.

“Coach Peeler and Coach Luke were very, very, very excited when I told them.

2021 WR Antonio Harmon

Buckhaulter wasn’t the only pass catcher on campus. Harmon, the four-star nephew of former Rebel running back Michael Harmon, got to spend some time with wideouts coach Jacob Peeler.

“He told me that they are looking to add a big body guy like me into their offense,” Harmon told 247 Sports. “They lost D.K. [Metcalf], A.J. [Brown] and [Damarkus] Lodge. He told me they need some big body receivers in there that can really move to make their offense complete. I’m the type of guy they are looking for.”

Harmon and Peeler are both from Kosciusko, Miss.

“Now we are just getting a chance to get to really know one another,” Harmon said of Peeler. “He’s coming to see me play in my spring game.”

The 6’3, 195-pound pass-catcher would be quite the compliment to Buckhaulter.

2020 LB Bryson Eason and Tamarion McDonald

Two of Memphis’ top linebacker prospects could go a long way in filling a position of desperate need for Ole Miss. Eason, a four-star, and McDonald, a three-star, are both members of the 2020 class.

For Eason, the No. 6 inside linebacker in the class, it was his second Oxford trip in three weeks. Ole Miss, which gave him his first offer, received a bump on the 247 Crystal Ball after Eason’s most recent visit.

The Rebels offered McDonald earlier this month and Sumrall seems to be really high on him at this point.

Ole Miss has really struggled to recruit both in Memphis and at the linebacker position recently, so Eason and McDonald are important targets.

2020 QB Jimmy Holiday

The 6’2, 190-pounder may not be a quarterback in college if he were to sign with the Rebels, but the athleticism and play-making ability is there in spades. Ole Miss became the fourth school to offer him, joining Air Force, Austin Peay and Southern Miss.

“I feel good about the Ole Miss offer because it’s hard enough to earn an SEC offer,” Holiday told the Ole Miss Spirit. ”To know that it’s a school inside your state that is recognizing your talents means a lot.

“Ole Miss has been recruiting me since last spring. Coach Nix told me to keep working and the day was going to come, so the offer was kind of earned. It didn’t come out of the blue. I talk to Coach Nix a lot and he does a good job of recruiting me and staying in touch on a daily basis.”

The first team All-State quarterback and 6A-Region 2 offensive MVP reminds me a little of former Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall the way he operates in the shotgun, zone-read scheme. He certainly puts up numbers that would make Gus Malzahn proud: 1,429 yards passing and 16 touchdowns with 1,408 yards rushing and 20 touchdowns.

South Carolina snaps Ole Miss’ win streak

The Rebels fell on the road in Columbia.

Breein Tyree and Terence Davis weren’t enough to overcome a balanced South Carolina attack Tuesday night in Columbia, fading down the stretch of a 79-64 loss.

Tyree and Davis combined for 35 points but went a combined 2-for-12 from behind the arc, accentuating a moribund team 21.7 percent from three point range.

The loss snapped what was a four-game winning streak for the Rebels (now 18-8 overall and 8-5 in SEC play) and drops them out of a fourth-place tie with South Carolina, which now stands at 9-4 in league play.

The Rebels started the game with a 13-2 advantage, controlling tempo and playing well in every phase of the game. But a lot of yelling from rage-a-holic USC coach Frank Martin woke this team up. Sakerlina pushed the tempo often and used great spacing to stretch the Rebel defense and find open looks from deep. The Gamecocks shot 47 percent from three-point range.

Ole Miss was dominated down low for most of the night. The Rebels posted a -8 rebounding margin, allowing South Carolina’s Chris Silva and A.J. Lawson to essentially build a small village under the goal. They took advantage, combining for 33 points and 13 rebounds.

Rebel big men Bruce Stevens and Dominik Olejniczak, meanwhile, scored just five points and five rebounds combined. That’s not enough production down low to win many games.

Hassani Gravett was the X factor for USC, scoring 15 points off the bench. The Rebels had no answer for him; Kermit Davis used 10 players in the game but couldn’t find the right mix to pull off the win.

This loss doesn’t sink the Rebels’ tournament resume by any means. A road loss to a top-100 NET team doesn’t do that.

Still, the No. 93 Gamecocks currently stand as the Rebels’ worse loss of the season (the previous worst was No. 50 Alabama). South Carolina seems poised to make a run at the NCAA Tournament, so Rebel fans should be pulling for them to improve their NET ranking.

The loss does mean it is extremely unlikely the Rebels will get a top four seed and a double bye in the SEC Tournament. It also puts a lot of pressure on the remaining five games, which includes home matchups against top-five Kentucky and Tennessee.

If the Rebels can answer this loss with a win Saturday against a bad Georgia team and split the final four games, that should be enough for a place in March Madness.

Ole Miss basketball enters crucial 6-game stretch

Time to sip that tea. Hard.

Only six games remain in the Ole Miss Rebels regular season of real, live American college basketball.

And somehow this motley crew who no one picked to be better than maybe 10th in the league and maybe 17 or 18 wins for the year sits tied for fourth with an 18-7 overall and 8-4 conference record. If Kermit Davis isn’t in the running for SEC Coach of the Year, what exactly does the award even really mean? One heck of a job by the first year head coach who regularly sips on that mf tea.

Last week was especially huge for the Rebels so let’s take a look at how Ole Miss went from a team in the NCAA Tournament to a team playing for a better seed in the tournament in a matter of a week.

Pop that daggum jersey.

Marshall Henderson gifs for everyone. Ole Miss went into Auburn’s Yella Wood Arena, faced a fairly raucous crowd, and came out with an impressive 60-55 win.

Breein Tyree and Devontae Shuler shouldered the scoring load combining for 37 points, but the overall game planning took the cake in this one. Auburn never seemed to be comfortable on offense, never could really get in transition or running like they wanted to, and shots from beyond the arc just seemed to never fall (5-of-20 for the game).

The tempo was also markedly slower as Ole Miss controlled the game and slowly salted away any chances for a last minute comeback. The Rebels and Tigers combined for only 100 shots in the game - compare that to 115 shots in the Rebels previous road game against Georgia, a marked difference.

This is clearly a nice statement win on the road for the Rebels who have a 4-2 SEC road record this season including an OT loss at Florida. The win at Auburn and the win on the road in Starkville against Mississippi State are both strongly pulling the Rebels resume in the right direction.

M-I-Z-L-L-L

When Mizzou entered the SEC, I fully prepared myself for them to take hold as one of the contenders for the conference crown in basketball on a year in and year out basis.

What in the heck is going on in Columbia? Mizzou looked completely out of sorts as the Rebels at times were up nearly 20 points in what was later a 10-point victory, 75-65.

The Tigers turned the ball over 25 times to the Rebels 10 as Ole Miss logged 13 steals in the game. This puts team team total at 199 steals for the year, which is totally significant, because they only posted 200 steals all of last season. DEFENSE IS GOOD SIP DAT TEA.

Bruce Stevens led the Rebels in scoring with 17, and Breein Tyree tossed in a dozen for good measure. It was just a very unusual offensive day for the Rebels, and I’m still wondering how in the world they got to 75.

Consequently, this game had a slower tempo overall as Mizzou tried to limit possessions to keep the game tighter than it should have been. What kept the Tigers viable late as well was their massive rebounding margin of +16 against Ole Miss. Rebounding continues to be a hit or miss stat for this team that may be more talent related than fundamental related.

The Missouri win made it four in a row for the Rebels as they enter the home stretch with six games left — three at home and three on the road.

Frank Martin — Please retire and/or give up.

A South Carolina road game in basketball just smells like failure to me. I can’t get my head around how a sub .500 non-conference record has been spun into a 13-12 overall record and 8-4 conference record for the ‘Cocks.

USC and Mizzou have almost identical records and NET standings, so this game could potentially be some kind of precursor to the Rebels final game of the season at Mizzou, which is coincidentally also in the city of Columbia though a different state.

The ‘Cocks are led by senior forward Chris Silva who averages 14 points and 7 rebounds per game to lead the team. Rebel bigs will definitely have their hands full with him down low though freshman KJ Buffen seems to have improved lately in SEC play.

ESPN’s Basketball Power Index gives Ole Miss a 54.7% percent chance of winning, so I guess flip a few coins at your desk right now and make your bets accordingly on tonight’s game.

A win against USC on the road would also move the Rebels achingly closer to a top four seed in the SEC Tournament, which would award a double bye for Ole Miss.

Bulldogs Back, Rebs go for 11th conference win at home.

Georgia will visit Oxford on Saturday for a 2:30 p.m. tip-off after the Rebels dismantled UGA in Athens 80-64.

UGA Coach Tom Crean just doesn’t have what he needs on his roster to compete in the SEC just yet, especially in a hostle road environment. This is a game that Ole Miss shouldn’t lose, and honestly it can’t afford to lose to keep its tournament seeding where it is.

Nicolas Claxton is the best player the Bulldogs have this year, leading the team in points, rebounds and assists. He received a technical foul when he exchanged words with Devontae Shuler in the previous game versus the Rebels after a hard foul under the basket.

Claxton’s father also played at UGA, so maybe yell at him the whole game about how disappointing he is to his father or how he can’t beat his dad in a game of 21 or something.

If the Rebels pull off the victory, it would mark the 11th home win of the season, which would best last year’s total of 10 home wins with two more home contests left to play.

As a fan, you have to be hoping the stars align for another 2-0 week to get the Rebels to 20 wins with four games left to play. Additionally, it would give Ole Miss a chance to possibly sneak back into the top 25 prior to its Feb. 27 game in Oxford vs. top 5 Tennessee.

So how do you think this week will play out? Tweet @redcuprebellion or comment below with your predictions.

Here’s a beer cocktail you won’t want to throw in the air

In this weekly segment, we’ll introduce beer cocktails you won’t want to throw in the air.

The allure of Natural Light is strong during baseball season.

Its pale, light, frothy appearance and low price turns the head of even the most selective palettes. For baseball, you’re looking for a beverage to drink for four to five hours of outfield time, and volume plus price is a real economic situation.

More importantly, you need something you won’t feel bad about hurling into the air after Thomas Dillard pulverizes a defenseless baseball midway into the student section like he did Saturday against Wright State.

At Swayze Field, beer is meant as much for throwing as it is drinking. But sometimes—especially for those midweek games when the vibe is chilled—you want something you’ll actually enjoy sipping on.

This weekly column will introduce you to beer cocktails you’ll want to keep in your cup after Dillard humiliates some hapless directional school pitcher.

The challenge with beer cocktails is ease of preparation and minimizing ingredients. We’re not going to send you out with a cutting board, half the produce section and force you to grow a curling mustache to prepare these.

Our lead-off hitter for this weekly feature: an IBA (India Bourbon Ale) to sip during Tuesday night’s matchup against Arkansas State.

The India Bourbon Ale

  • 6 oz IPA of your choice (I recommend a Goose Island IPA for something less aggressive)
  • 1.5 oz chilled bourbon of your choice (Maker’s, Bulleit or Michter’s are great options)
  • .5 oz lemon juice
  • Honey to taste

It’s a little piney, a little lemony, and there’s an underlying sweetness that will send you soaring like a Sikes Orvis dick-slapped dinger. Opting for a more hops-forward IPA will further enhance the contrasts in this drink.

If you have an aversion to IPAs but still want to give this a whirl, opt for a pale ale like Sweetwater 420. You still catch a buzz, no harm in that.

How to watch the game on Wednesday

Who: Ole Miss vs. Arkansas State
Where: Oxford
First pitch: 4 p.m. CT
Online streaming: WatchESPN

What’s your favorite beer-tail? Comment or tweet @redcuprebellion and we may pick yours to share with our readers.

Podcast: Ole Miss split its opening series, which is fine

We also talk a little hoops!

The weather ruined the rubber match but it was still a good Opening Weekend for Ole Miss baseball. New Friday starter Will Ethridge and the offense put on a show Friday, lighting up the scoreboard and silencing the Wright State bats on the way to a 10-1 victory. Saturday was a tough one as new starter Zack Phillips had a shaky debut, but the Rebs put up a fight and scored five runs late to make it close.

Regardless, the good guys remain No. 10 in D1Baseball’s Top 25 and will (hopefully) do battle with Arkansas State on Tuesday before traveling down to New Orleans to take on Tulane this weekend.

We also talk about the Basketsharks’ Tuesday night matchup against South Carolina and what it could mean for NCAA Tournament seeding.


If you like New Orleans-inspired cuisine go see Kelly and his crew in Memphis at Second Line or Restaurant Iris for some fantastic food. And if you like gambling and good food, go see to the Magnolia House in Biloxi’s Harrah’s Gulf Coast. Blackjack, slots, Southern cooking—what’s not to like?

And when you’re in Oxford, go see Greg and the good folks at LB’s Meat Market, the inaugural sponsor of this here podcast, to celebrate with the best protein for your Ole Miss grilling needs this weekend. And be sure to tell him RED CUP SENT YA for exclusive deals and promotions!

Former DC Tyrone Nix is returning to Ole Miss

Nix is leaving Virginia Tech to rejoin his brother in Oxford.

After Ole Miss safeties coach Jason Jones was relieved of his duties earlier this month, Matt Luke had a vacancy on his staff. It sounds as though he’ll be filling it with a familiar name.

Former Ole Miss defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix is leaving his job at Virginia Tech to returning to Oxford, according to a statement released by Hokies head coach Justin Fuente on Monday.

“Our staff wishes Coach Nix and his family the very best as he returns to the state of Mississippi, a place where his family owns very deep ties,” the statement read. “I certainly understand his desire to return to a place he considers home, as well as the opportunity to once again coach with his brother at Ole Miss.”

Nix and his brother, Derrick, arrived in Oxford in 2008 as part of Houston Nutt’s new staff. Derrick, coaching running backs, has managed to stick around in the decade since, weathering three regime changes. Tyrone was let go alongside Nutt after the 2011 season. He spent four years as the DC at Middle Tennessee State, was an analyst for Texas A&M in 2017 and joined Fuente’s staff in 2018.

Given defensive coordinator Mike MacIntyre’s background in coaching the secondary and Charles Clark’s presence on staff as a cornerbacks coach, Luke didn’t need another defensive backs coach to replace Jones. Nix was a safeties coach in Blacksburg, but I expect him to lead the outside linebackers group in Oxford (with Jon Sumrall coaching the interior linebackers). Nix has experience coaching defensive line, doing it at Southern Miss and South Carolina, which will come in handy in MacIntyre’s new 3-4 scheme. The Rebels struggled mightily getting pressure on the quarterback in 2018 and Nix LOVES to blitz.

Nix’s first couple years in Oxford produced big results. Loaded with future NFLers like Peria Jerry, Jerrell Powe, Greg Hardy, Kendrick Lewis and Cassius Vaughn, the Rebels climbed into the nation’s top 20 in defensive S&P+ in 2009. But Nix couldn’t make up for the departure of that upperclassmen talent, sliding to 75th in defensive S&P+ in 2010 and 82nd in 2011. Still, those last two years would’ve looked LIGHT YEARS better than the 2018 defense.

As a recruiter, Nix has been pretty darn good at every stop he’s made. Per 247Sports composite rankings, he’s been the primary recruiter responsible for signing four four-stars. At Ole Miss, his best signees included four-stars Patrick Trahan and Emmanuel Stephens and three-stars Woodrow Hamilton and Mike Hilton. His biggest win was helping flip five-star linebacker C.J. Johnson away from Mississippi State in 2011.

Prior to joining the Rebels, Nix ran the defense for Steve Spurrier at South Carolina. In 2006, the Gamecocks allowed just 18.7 points per game in 2006 despite returning just one defensive starter from the the year before.

Nix coached up one of the youngest defenses in the country at VT last season. His safeties combined for 124(!) tackles, four interceptions and eight pass breakups. Middle Tennessee ranked among the nation’s top 25 in the nation in takeaways in Nix’s three seasons running the defense.

Nix, who is a native of Alabama, played linebacker at Southern Miss and served as a defensive assistant coach there from 1995-2004. In 2001, he became the youngest coordinator in Division I football when he was promoted to DC at the ripe age of 29. The Golden Eagles finished in the top 15 nationally in scoring and pass efficiency defense from 2001-2003, leading to Nix becoming a finalist for the Broyles Award in 2003, the distinction handed out to the nation’s best assistant coach.

Opening Weekend didn’t answer many pitching questions

Will Ethridge was great on Friday, but there’s nothing but question marks after that.

Opening Weekend was supposed to bring a degree of clarity to the murky waters surrounding Ole Miss baseball’s pitching situation. The Rebels are deploying an entirely new weekend rotation after losing the top three starters from a year ago.

Instead, the rain-shortened series against Wright State—which Ole Miss split, 1-1—produced more questions than answers. Will Ethridge was brilliant in Friday’s 10-1 win, but JUCO transfer Zach Phillips had a disastrous outing in Saturday’s 9-5 loss. Freshman phenom Gunnar Hoglund, who could be this staff’s biggest X-factor, never saw the field.

The good: Will Ethridge was lights out on Friday.

One inning into the game, it didn’t look like the Rebels’ new ace would stick around for much of the evening. A couple of tough battles against patient Wright State hitters and a throwing error of his own doing had Ethridge, a junior righty hoping to fill the rather large shoes of first-round MLB pick Ryan Rolison, sitting on 30 pitches after the top of the first.

Ethridge lived a bit of a double life coming out of the bullpen last season. There were outings when he was ruthlessly efficient, mowing down batters to pull Ole Miss out of tight spots. There were also outings when he struggled with control and was knocked around. With only four career starts under his belt—all as a freshman in 2017—Ethridge was a bit of an unlikely candidate for SEC ace.

But the rest of his outing on Friday backed up Mike Bianco’s claim that Ethridge was the best pitcher on the team over the offseason. He shook off that long first inning and found the ruthless efficiency, allowing four hits and no runs over 5.2 innings of work. His fastball was ripping in at 94 mph and his breaking pitches were crisp and well-located. It was exactly what Rebel fans wanted to see out of their Friday night ace.

Just as impressive was Austin Miller, who allowed only three baserunners while working the final 3.1 frames. After a 30-pitch first inning, Ole Miss only needed two arms to get through the game.

It didn’t hurt that the offense was rearing to go. Tyler Keenan and Cooper Johnson mashed homers to dead center, aggressive baserunners stacked up eight extra bases and the Rebels rolled to 10 runs on 11 hits.

The bad: Zach Phillips’ first start was rough.

Phillips transferred in from junior college with plenty of buzz, then cinched down a weekend starter spot with a strong preseason. His DI debut didn’t go as planned.

After giving up a run in the first, the wheels came off for Phillips in a two-walk, three-hit, four-run third inning that forced him into the dugout.

This from Rebel Grove’s Chase Parham:

Two errors, including one of his own, immediately sent his rhythm haywire in the early going, and he couldn’t recover during the outing. Phillips gave up two runs in 10 intrasquad innings during the preseason, relying on an ever-improving breaking ball, fastball command and, frankly, confidence. Each of those was off on Saturday. Phillips’ fastball velocity never hit 90 MPH, and the command faltered, as balls out and over the plate were punished by a Wright State team that was top 10 nationally in runs per game last season.

The next JUCO transfer to the mound didn’t fare much better: reliever Tyler Broadway got tagged for another three runs on three hits in the fourth. By the time Bianco called a name that Rebel fans recognized—sophomore Max Cioffi—it was 8-0, Wright State. Cioffi was brilliant over the next 3.2 innings (one hit, no runs, five Ks) as the Ole Miss offense chipped away at the lead, but the hole was too deep. Down 9-5, Ole Miss loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth but a Tyler Keenan ground-out ended the rally.

On the plus side, Thomas Dillard did this...

The unknown: A rainout postponed our first look at Gunnar Hoglund.

After watching Phillips scuffle on Saturday, Rebel fans were eager to get a look at Hoglund. The first-round MLB selection turned down nearly $2 million of MLB money to show up for school in Oxford and has the most talented arm on the roster. At just 18, he’s already 6’4, 210 pounds and rockets a fastball at up to 95 mph.

But rain clouds rolling in from southern Texas swamped Oxford on Sunday, forcing the rubber match to be cancelled.

That’s frustrating because an Ole Miss team ranked as high as No. 10 nationally no doubt wanted to bag a series win on Opening Weekend. But it’s even more frustrating that a young pitcher who could play a critical role in the Rebels’ postseason hopes missed an opportunity for live game experience.

We’ll have to wait until next weekend’s home series against Tulane to see Hoglund on the mound.

Ole Miss basketball powers past Missouri for 4th-straight win

K.J. Buffen and Bruce Stevens went off in this one.

Ole Miss only beat Missouri by ten points on Saturday, but the game wasn’t even that close.

The Rebels’ suffocating 1-3-1 defense forced the young Tigers into 25 turnovers while Bruce Stevens and K.J. Buffen poured in a combined 31 points off the bench. With the 75-65 W in Oxford, Ole Miss has now reeled off four-straight SEC wins.

Before the game, I said that for the Tigers to win they would need to see good performances out of guards Jordan Geist, Javon Pickett and Jermiah Tilmon. Geist did his part offensively with 23 points on 16 shots but Pickett, a freshman, struggled to adapt to the complex defenses he saw. Tilmon, 6’10” and fresh off a 21-point performance against Arkansas, fouled out with 15 minutes played. He couldn’t get anything going, finishing with four points and four rebounds.

The trio of Terence Davis, Breein Tyree and Devontae Shuler was productive for the Rebs, but none were especially electric offensively, combining for 35 points. Shuler continued show how special of a defender he is, abusing hapless guards and logging five steals. Turnovers were the story of the game, as the Rebels forced twenty-five of them. The 1-3-1 and a constant, attacking approach were just too much for the young Tigers to handle.

In addition to steals, blocks, and simply throwing passes out of bounds, Missouri managed to be called for four charges drawn by the Rebels. Ole Miss was well-positioned while playing defense, which allowed them to set their feet and make the Tigers go through them.

What does this win mean?

Not a whole lot, really. Ole Miss was supposed to (and had to) win this one. Winning was never going to be a big deal, given that Missouri is in the 90s in NET, but losing would have been very, very troubling. That didn’t happen, and that keeps plenty of NCAA tournament hope alive

Where do the Rebels stand?

I’ll let other Red Cup writer pontificate more in-depth on where the Rebels stack up in NCAA tournament discussions. I know Jerry Palm currently has the Rebels in as an eight-seed. The most important thing is just to keep winning the games you’re supposed to win and maybe try to steal one or two in which they’re not favored.

Ole Miss’ NET score is going to be somewhere around 30 after this win, which would place them squarely in the tournament (barring some absurd levels of leagues that should be one-bid seeing upsets in conference tournament games). No one expected anything like this six months ago.

What happens next?

The Rebels travel to South Carolina on Tuesday in a game they really need to win. Losing to South Carolina in Columbia wouldn’t be devastating, but their NET score isn’t too great (90s). A larger element to this game though is that the Gamecocks have somehow been pretty good in SEC play, sitting at 8-4 in the conference. If Ole Miss cares about SEC tournament seeding, it needs to knock off the teams who are jockeying along with it for those same seeds.

2021 WR Brandon Buckhaulter commits to Ole Miss

nWo gets another playmaker.

Signing Day 2019 has just concluded and the focus has been shifted to 2020. But, 2021 wants you to know that they are next man up as well.

Jackson, Miss. native Brandon Buckhaulter, a member of the 2021 class, has decided to go ahead and end his recruitment (for now) and commit to the Ole Miss Rebels and receivers coach Jacob Peeler. The nWo leader gets his first commitment for next year’s class, building upon the success of this year’s threesome who will almost certainly go in the early rounds of the 2019 NFL Draft.

The Provine High School prospect has an early offer from Mississippi State but chose to go ahead and pick the Rebels at this point. At this time, he has early interest from Alabama, Auburn, and LSU, along with offers from the two Magnolia State programs.

The first 2021 commit visited Oxford unofficially and made the decision to commit to Peeler and head coach Matt Luke. But, it wasn’t without building a relationship first. As he told Ole Miss Spirit’s David Johnson, he is quite familiar with the staff.

“I just felt home again,” said Buckhaulter. “It’s always been that way. I felt at home today, and I knew I might do it, if I felt at home again today. (Wide receivers) Coach (Jacob) Peeler and Coach (Matt) Luke made me feel at home again.

”Coach Peeler and Coach Luke were very, very, very excited when I told them.

”I felt good. I just felt it in my body. I just kept telling myself, like, ‘Brandon, this is the move for you. You’re at home.’”

And not only was the bond with the coaching staff a big part of it, but the nWo was a big reason for the early commitment.

“Ole Miss’ wide receivers are incredible,” he said. “A.J. Brown...he is one of my role models that I look up to.”

Buckhaulter’s commitment, despite very early, is a big deal for the class two years from now.

How does he fit in?

The 6’2, 180-pounder from the capital city of Mississippi is a phenomenal athlete and should be the next in line to build the nWo brand. Even though he is just entering his junior year in the high school ranks, he is already showing signs of being an impressive prospect. He is sharp in his route running and in his activity after the catch.

Look for Brandon to continue to grow as a receiver prospect and to become a better receiver with his growth as a player and as his body continues to develop. The projected future four-star might be the best player in the 2021 Mississippi class and will be a recruit that other schools will come after regardless of a commitment. Therfore, the Rebels will have to do their best to hold on to his commitment moving forward.

Highlights

This walk-off couldn’t happen under the NCAA’s new intentional walk rule

A successful intentional walk isn’t automatic. Just ask Auburn.

Wright State’s pitcher was in trouble.

From over Bear Bellomy’s left shoulder hurtled the jeers of some 3,000 well-served Ole Miss students undeterred by the cold, rainy conditions of Opening Day in Oxford. To his right crouched Rebel speedster Ryan Olenek, slinking away from third base, eager to put Bellomy’s team in a 4-0 hole. Straight ahead loomed the imposing figure of Thomas Dillard, who last season crushed enough baseballs to be invited to the NCAA home run derby. A misplaced fastball or a hung slider would probably end up over the right field wall with the students.

Wright State’s head coach wasn’t gonna take that chance. He gestured to the ump, holding up four fingers. Dillard slung his bat to the side and trotted to first without a pitch being thrown.

Fans had just been introduced to college baseball’s new intentional walk rule.

No longer does a pitcher have to toss the ball four times to a standing catcher to give the batter a base. Just have the head coach signal to the ump and off he goes.

The rule is meant to speed up pace of play and realign the college game with the MLB, which implemented the same rule two years ago. Yes, those four tosses are usually a formality... but not always. Hell, on the very day the MLB announced its rule change, Texas A&M won on a walk-off wild pitch that was supposed to be a free pass.

But arguably the greatest unintentional-intentional walk-off in baseball history happened in Oxford.

On April 4, 2014, Ole Miss and Auburn were tied at five in the bottom of the 13th inning. With two men in scoring position and first base open, the Tigers decided to give Rebel slugger Austin Anderson a free pass. Anderson, a soon-to-be-named All-American, was tired of being walked. It’d already happened twice that game and a couple of those intentional balls had floated enticingly close to his reach.

So he was coiled and ready when the Auburn pitcher, aiming for the outstretched mitt of his standing catcher, left the ball over the plate.

Anderson knew it was gone by the time he finished his swing, casually pimping the bat to the side and strolling toward first. “THEY LEFT IT OVER THE PLATE! YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME,” roared Rebel play-by-play man David Kellum as his booth-mate Keith Kessinger sank into a fit of grade-school giggles.

“Remember earlier in the previous two at-bats?” Kellum asked as the Rebels dog piled at the plate. “He got dangerously close and this time Anderson thought, ‘Okay, you leave me a fat one and I’m gonna hit it.”

The ball bounded into a dumpster behind the right field wall, where it was retrieved and preserved by a student drunk enough to climb into a dumpster.

Anderson was just as incredulous as the rest of us. “He tried to sneak another one by me, and I just tried to hit it as hard and as far as I could,” he told the Clarion-Ledger after the game.

The Rebels, who had scuffled through the first half the season, went on to sweep Auburn, win six of their final seven conference series and advance to the College World Series for the first time in over four decades.

The NCAA’s new rule will speed up games. It also takes for granted that a pitcher will always toss four balls to his catcher. Austin Anderson can attest to that.

The Swinging Landshark: Your weekly Ole Miss golf update

This weekly feature will wade through the waters of Ole Miss golf, previewing the tournaments, the courses and the golfers. Sorry in advance for the jokes.

As you may have heard, OUR LORD THORNBERRY has left the fold, on to conquer new lands and vanquish new foes. By that we mean Ole Miss golf stud Braden Thornberry will skip his senior year to go pro. But our benevolent lord saw fit to leave the Ole Miss golfing kingdom in the hands of a talented crop of Rebel golfers, both old and new.

It’ll be much more of a team effort this fall. The Rebs are anchored by seniors Josh Seiple and Beau Briggs and flanked by a group of talented sophomores and freshmen, any number of which could fill the five man line-up from week to week.

Seiple had a solid fall, carding a top five finish at the Marquette Intercollegiate. He also fired his lowest ever round as a Rebel, a 65, in the first round of the Warrior Princeville Makai Invitational.

Briggs had an even better fall, breaking out in his final season with a third place overall finish at the Intercollegiate at the Grove in Nashville and a fourth overall finish at the Warrior Princeville Makai Invitational. His 69 stroke average (NICE) is the lowest of his career. Those finishes have him ranked No. 16 nationally by Golfweek heading into the spring season.

As a team, the Rebels rank No. 47 in the country.

Sophomore Cecil Wegener built on his solid first year with two top-10 finishes in the fall, including an eighth place finish at The Grove in Nashville.

The real story for Ole Miss golf in the fall was the startling success of some of its newest freshmen. Jackson Suber led the way for the baby Landsharks, playing in all five tournaments, with three top-10 finishes including a runner-up placement at the Ocean Course Invitational on Kiawah Island.

Redshirt freshmen Charlie Miller also got in on the action in the fall, playing in all five tournaments, including a top-20 finish at Kiawah and a career-low round of 67 at Erin Hills. Jack Gnam rounded out the group of baby-faced assassins, by getting into three tournaments and posting a 74 round stroke average for the fall.

This week’s tournament: The All-American Intercollegiate

When: February 17-19

Where: Houston

The course: The Golf Club of Houston—once the proud home of the Houston Open. The PGA dumped this Masters lead-up tournament for something called the Valero Open, played in a corporate shopping center in San Antonio. Nevertheless, the Rees Jones and David Toms design should serve as a nice test for the season opener.

The Rebels

Josh Seiple (Sr, Castle Rock, CO): Top 5 at the Marquette Intercollegiate at Erin Hills in the Fall. Carded a career low round of 65 in at the Makai Invitational in Hawaii. Earned conditional status on the PGA Tour Latin America Tour with a 32nd place Q School finish.

Beau Briggs (Senior, Covington, LA): Played in two Fall Tournaments, finished in the Top 10 in those tournaments. Efficient. 3rd at the Intercollegiate at The Grove and 4th at the Makai Invitational.

Cecil Wegener (Soph., Jackson, MS): Two Top 10 finished in the Fall at the Intercollegiate at The Grove and the Marquette Invitational at Erin Hills.

Jackson Suber (Freshman, Tampa, FL): Great start for the Freshmen. Had two Top 10s in his first two collegiate events.

Charlie Miller (Redshirt Fr., Jackson, MS): Made all 5 starts in the Fall. Had a Top 15 finish at the Ocean Course Invitational in his collegiate debut.

Jack Gnam (Freshmen, Ridgeland, MS): Played in 3 tournaments in the Fall. Finished tied for 33rd at the Shoal Creek Invitational.

The Field: No. 38 Baylor, No. 31 South Carolina, Sam Houston State, Rice, UTSA, North Texas, Louisiana-Lafayette, Charlotte, McNeese

Top individuals who are playing for second: No. 23 Scott Stevens – Baylor, No. 51 Blake Elliot – McNeese, No. 62 Thomas Rosenmueller – North Texas, No. 88 Ryan Hall – South Carolina

If you want to follow the action: Golfstat and Ole Miss Men’s Golf Twitter are your top follows.

Next Tournament: The USF-Ole Miss Challenge; Clearwater, Florida; Belleair Country Club. Taking the Bulls by the proverbial horns in a little match play suarez outside of Tampa. Please keep Mons Venus visits to a minimum.

Ole Miss basketball takes on Missouri

The Rebels are looking for their fourth straight W.

Well, things have gotten a lot more interesting for Ole Miss hoops over the past week and a half. The Rebels put themselves squarely back into the NCAA Tournament conversation by beating A&M, Georgia and Auburn.

They’ve done it in many different ways, effectively changing defensive gameplans for each opponent to neutralize what those teams do best. Against Auburn, they forced three-point shooters further back (Kermit Davis told his team to “keep your heels in front of the arc”), keeping the Tigers off balance from the perimeter.

Now the focus shifts to a home game against Missouri. The Tigers aren’t in a great place, sitting at 12-11 overall and just 3-8 in conference play. While they’re capable of winning, especially if freshman Javon Pickett continues to produce like he has the past few games (10 points per game over his last five) and can support senior Jordan Geist (13.8 ppg this season), it’s not very likely. The trouble for those two players will be the guards they’re facing for the Rebels. Devontae Shuler, Terence Davis and Breein Tyree have played fantastic defense recently and it could be tough for Missouri to make much happen at the guard position.

How to watch

Where: Oxford
When: 2:30 p.m. CT
TV: SEC Network
Online streaming: WatchESPN

Ole Miss baseball’s walkout songs for 2019 are here

These kids nowadays with their music. And look at the RCR staff being all hip, too.

One of the tremendous parts of a baseball game year in and year out is the first few strums of guitar, the beat of a drum or the notes of a synthetic, auto-tuned voice.

Yes, the walk-up song.

It’s an announcement that a king has arrived to claim what is rightfully his. A declaration that all your current assets are about to be engulfed in the fiery flames of a 98 miles per hour fastball. A signaling beacon of future joy, happiness and elation while causing a trembling in your most hated foe’s knees.

OK, it’s all those things, and it’s also an easy sound device to remember the line-up when you’re 12 Natty Lights deep in a blow out game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff in March.

The 2019 Ole Miss Baseball walk out songs has some classics, and of course some of the new fangled, hippity-hoppity music these kids are listening to nowadays.

So let’s take a look at what you’ll be listening to all season long when your Rebels are striding to the plate/mound.

Staff Picks

Literally the staff at Red Cup would be the worst assembled baseball team in the history of the sport. But we still gotta have our swagger jams in a fantasy land where our staff is on a team.

SP Jeff Gray - “Space Jam” by Quad City DJ’s

OF Alex McDaniel - “Twerk” by City Girls feat. Cardi B

OF Juco All American - “Hail State” by the Mississippi State Marching Band

OF Bob Lynch - “Crew” by Goldlink

SS Zach Berry - “7 rings” by Ariana Grande

2B Will Gates - “Sleeping on the Blacktop” by Colter Wall

1B One Man to Beat - “Pickup Man” by Joe Diffie

3B Christoph Ludwig - “Project Dreams” by Marshmello & Roddy Rich

C Whiskey Wednesday - “In Bloom” by Nirvana

DH Gray Hardison - “Pony” by Ginuwine

UTIL Ben Woodhouse - “The Next Episode (2:14-end)” by Dr. Dre

RP Josh Shelton - “Trogdor the Burninator” by Homestar Runner

CL Nicholas Carr - “Still Fly” by Big Tymers

Good gravy and biscuits, our staff is getting old and also maybe hearing impaired. These are some truly questionable choices across the board, so maybe some of these folks are self-hazing if that is a thing.

So what’s your walk-up music in your fantasy baseball world? Tweet @redcuprebellion or comment below with your pick.

Here are some of our Favorite Ole Miss Baseball Moments

Swayze Field is a special place

Ole Miss baseball’s opening day is today. That means yet another year of the greatest fan experience in college baseball at Swayze Field is upon us. There’s good baseball to be played—of course—just as there’s crawfish to be boiled, chicken wings to be grilled, beer to be drank, beer to be thrown skyward, and umpires to dog cuss at. There’s “The Love is Gone” and cup races. There’s dollar hot dog nights. There’s fireworks. There’s Thomas Dillard’s mustache. There’s beer.

All around, it’s a perfect baseball experience, one by which we around here have made a lot of fond memories. I myself have a few of them, but one that has left an indelible impression on me is Mark Wright’s 3-run home run during game one of the 2006 Oxford Super Regional against Miami.

This was during the summer between my sophomore and junior years of college. I, for some reason I cannot quite recall, was taking summer school classes at Holmes Community College (again, I dunno) and spent my weekends driving back and forth from Oxford and Jackson to visit folks. Until that point, I had only been a casual Ole Miss baseball fan, having attended maybe a few games my freshman year and making a point to attend the 2005 Super Regional against Texas. Those were great times, for sure, but it was not really until after that Super Regional that Ole Miss fans really began adopting baseball en masse. While we don’t typically speak of it in the same air, the 2006 Super Regional was every bit as electric as the celebrated 2005 one, and our fan expectations seemed to be much higher that season. In a way, in 2005 we were still convincing ourselves that we belonged among the great college baseball atmospheres and programs; in 2006, we had already fully accepted that as a fact.

That atmosphere came to a head during game one of that series. Ole Miss was down by three in the fifth inning, and with two outs and two on, Mark Wright confidently walked to the plate.

“He’s gonna knock the shit out of it,” my friend Adam said. He was right. On a 2-2 pitch, he knocked a moonshot over the right field wall. As soon as the ball left the bat, everyone knew it was gone. We lept to our feet, screamed literally in each others faces, threw anything we could get our hands on, shit talked some Miami fans (they deserve it and always have), and pumped up a baseball team that needed an injection of booze-fueled energy. Ole Miss would go on to win 11-9 that game and, wouldn’t you know it, they lost the dang Super Regional anyway.

But that weekend in Oxford, that game, that home run, that moment along the left field hill was truly great, and it cemented my love for college baseball.

Here are some other fine Swayze field memories.

Gray Hardison

I am not, as the elder statesmen like to say, a BASEBALL MAN. However, I have never had a bad time going to a baseball game. It’s the perfect storm of social interaction, alcohols, and delicious horrible food.

For these reasons, I found myself in right field on a Saturday afternoon at Swayze in the Year of Our Lord 2005 for a game against Purdue (if you recall, this is the same school that kicked the sugar-coated shit out of Ohio State in football this past season). I remember it was the first nice weekend of the spring, which meant it was packed.

Because this took place roughly around the time of the Truman administration, it was well before the Ole Miss put some order and money into the student section. The only rule at that time was there are no rules. Think Mad Max vibe, minus the shoulder pad spikes and murder. I don’t recall any murder.

Anyhow, I was in right field when some Purdue pitcher with an ERA probably north of 32 had the privilege of trying to get Stephen Head out. I recall talking with someone and then stopping mid-sentence because I heard a ping I’d never heard before.

I turned and realized everyone in the grandstand was on their feet, screaming OOOOHHHHHHHHHHH. I looked up, and by some miracle, spotted the ball and watched it sail over my head, right into the middle of the DAGGUM TENNIS COURTS.

Friends, I did not have a tape measure that day, but I assure you, that ball traveled somewhere around 731 feet (roughly). To this day, I have never heard a sound like that again or seen a ball go that far in person.

Zach Berry

One Man To Beat

For me, it’s Matt Smith’s home run against UVA in the 2008 Oxford Super Regional. For a moment or even several moments, it was perfect, and our time had finally arrived. Our hulking 1B was trotting on the seemingly undefeatable UVA Cavaliers in game one of a Super Regional with a chance to go to Omaha hanging in the balance. Matt Smith hit a crapload of dingers in his time as a Rebel, but none of them were quite as poignant, timely and ecstasy inducing.

Juco All-American

My favorite memory at Swayze was during the Oxford Super Regional against Miami where I brought a tupperware container of leftover gumbo to the game. This was before the expanded Swayze, when people would park along Taylor Road to watch games from their trucks, or prop up plastic lawn chairs with the back legs cut off up against the hill. I was there on that hill with some friends, including the author of this piece, who is a great friend and a very smart, handsome man. We were enjoying some beer and a few laughs when I reached into the cooler to offer some gumbo to everyone there. Gumbo is a common treat to enjoy at a baseball game. Unfortunately I spilled it all in the cooler and made a mess of everything. Ole Miss then lost the Super Regional.

SmeargleRCR

I fell on my butt once trying to catch a home run ball in left field. Everybody saw it. It was on the jumbotron. Everyone pointed and laughed and called me “stupid” and “dumb” for it. Had a blast though.

You

That’s right, you! Share with us your favorite Swayze moments in the comments. Be sure to like and subscribe, and smash that retweet button.

Thanks, God bless.

Hello baseball! How to watch Opening Weekend.

FINALLY

The wait is over. Baseball has returned.

The No. 10 Ole Miss Rebels will host the Wright State Raiders of the Horizon League this weekend at Swayze Field.

Ole Miss is coming off arguably the best regular season of Mike Bianco’s career in Oxford, winning the SEC Tournament title and bagging a national seed in the NCAA Tournament. The excitement was short-lived however as they were bounced from their own regional.

The Rebels are looking to leave that memory in the rear view as Bianco enters his 19th season on the top step. He is 17-1 in season openers and returns seven players who started 48 or more games last year. Of those returning players, four were preseason All-SEC and three were preseason All-Americans.

The table is set for another fun year. The fans are certainly excited: the 7,100 season tickets sold are the most in program history.

So let’s get weird, shall we?

How to watch

Friday

First pitch: 4 p.m. CT
TV: none
Online: WatchESPN

Saturday

First pitch: noon CT
TV: none
Online: WatchESPN

Sunday

First pitch: noon CT
TV: none
Online: WatchESPN

Beer shower season is BACK

With Ole Miss baseball back in session, we take a look at one of its best fan traditions: the beer shower.

The return of Ole Miss baseball brings respite from the rigid, self-imposed demands of tailgating during football season. Don’t get me wrong—I love a bourbon-spiked Saturday in the Grove as much as the next gal, but I ALSO love that game day at Swayze has evolved into one of the school’s best fan experiences in an atmosphere devoid of cocktail dresses, chandeliers and concealing your beer.

With that said, let’s take a look at the most cherished Ole Miss baseball tradition in existence: the beer shower. Nothing says casual like hurling cups of beer into the air and praying the person next to you isn’t a total ass who thinks throwing whiskey and coke into the mix is perfectly acceptable.

It’s not acceptable.

HAPPY BEER SHOWER SEASON, Y’ALL.

Podcast: Can Ole Miss’ new pitching rotation get it done?

Mike Bianco is replacing his entire weekend rotation from a season ago.

The Ole Miss pitching rotation will look a bit different against Wright State this weekend. Last year’s starters are all gone, drafted into the MLB. Replacing them is a bullpen mainstay, a JUCO transfer and a freshman phenom.

Will Etheridge, who served as a prime reliever last year, will take the mound on Friday. JUCO Zach Phillips is up on Saturday and freshman Gunnar Hoglund follows on Sunday. We talk about how the new rotation will hold up this season and what bullpen arms will back up Parker Caracci.


If you like New Orleans-inspired cuisine go see Kelly and his crew in Memphis at Second Line or Restaurant Iris for some fantastic food. And if you like gambling and good food, go see to the Magnolia House in Biloxi’s Harrah’s Gulf Coast. Blackjack, slots, Southern cooking—what’s not to like?

And when you’re in Oxford, go see Greg and the good folks at LB’s Meat Market, the inaugural sponsor of this here podcast, to celebrate with the best protein for your Ole Miss grilling needs this weekend. And be sure to tell him RED CUP SENT YA for exclusive deals and promotions!

A Valentine’s Day to remember: Ole Miss’ 2007 buzzer beater over LSU

Clarence Sanders is bae.

Valentine’s Day 2007.

Ya boi OMTB was there on the front row with his date who is now his wife of many years - yeah, I wasn’t wining and dining her at Pearl Street Pasta or City Grocery. She was willing to be there, partially because she thinks Valentine’s Day is silly and ridiculous, but also because she hates the corn dog stink of LSU and the atrocious purple and gold color scheme with a passion.

We should all be so lucky to have one like her tbh.

We were there together for a magical moment that only college basketball can produce: the buzzer beating shot that propels an unlikely team to a victory in front of a packed home crowd.

It all started with a player who was known more for his father’s name than his play on the court.

Brian Smith, son of legendary national champion coach Tubby, reacted to a lobbed pass in a full court press defense. The less than reliable Tad Smith Coliseum lights shook from the initial reaction from the crowd.

Could this really happen?

There was a chance the improbable season and an upset win was still in play. The scrappy Ole Miss Rebels, led by first year coach Andy Kennedy, had fought the LSU Tigers and future first round draft pick Glen Davis to a one-point deficit with just 13.9 seconds left.

A full court press and incoming quick foul was what I and most everyone expected. When the ball hit Davis’ hands, fans screamed “Foul!” hoping the big man would go to the line with less than spectacular results.

But Davis instead lobbed a pass that allowed Smith plenty of time to swat it and the chance for an upset immediately skyrocketed into the stratosphere.

Smith, now with only seven seconds left after the steal, quickly brought the ball up the court, weaving through defenders and handed it off to sure-handed senior point guard Todd Abernethy.

Four seconds.

Abernethy started to look for a drive to the basket, but the massive Davis of LSU hung near the basket. Defenders begin to close in on Abernethy, so he kicks it to the wing to the streakiest shooter in Ole Miss history - Clarence Sanders.

Two seconds.

Sanders, with a leaping Davis attempting to block the shot, executes his classic fade away release over the big man with the Rebels’ hope for a win hanging in the balance.

0.6 seconds.

You can’t hear it on the audio of the Lincoln Financial broadcast, but I distinctly remember that ever so sweet sound of a basketball hitting nothing but net in the gasping silence of a collective 8,800 fans hoping and praying for a win. That ripping, perfect, pure swoosh as a ball hits nothing but the seamed nylon netting.

The euphoria is immediately unbelievable and evident. Ole Miss basketball, after years of mediocre play, felt like it was officially on its way back to relevance.

This was a team coming off a losing season in Rod Barnes’ last year, and a win against the vaunted LSU squad would put them first in the SEC Western Division, you know back when we had divisions in basketball. There has been a lot of big shots made in Ole Miss basketball history, and I can say this is absolutely one of them.

If you haven’t seen it before, grab a small snack and a beverage and soak in this grainy footage.

The Rebels went on to be co-champions of the SEC West that season, moving on to the NIT and going to the second round losing to Clemson.

But none of it would’ve been possible without the clutch af Clay Sanders knocking down a shot from the wing on V-Day 2007 - a memory indelible in the minds of those who were there.

So were you in attendance for the Valentine’s Day Miracle of 2007? Comment or tweet @redcuprebellion with your memory of this game or any other classic Rebel win from V-day.

Ole Miss baseball’s season might depend on a stud freshman pitcher

Gunnar Hoglund turned down $2 million of MLB money to play in Oxford. He’s already a weekend starter.

When head coach Mike Bianco announced the starting rotation for opening weekend, it didn’t include any of Ole Miss’ starting pitchers from last year. Gone is reliable Saturday man Brady Feigl and hard-throwing righty James McArthur. Gone is Friday night ace Ryan Rolison, drafted in the first round by the Colorado Rockies.

Bianco’s rotation did, however, include another name called early in last year’s MLB Draft: Gunnar Hoglund. Taken 36th overall by the Pirates, the 18-year-old turned down close to $2 million in signing bonus to play ball in Oxford. When he takes the mound this Sunday against Wright State, it’ll be the first time Bianco has started a freshman on opening weekend since 2003.

Ole Miss’ 2019 season may well rest on Hoglund’s right shoulder.

We know the Rebels are gonna hit the ball. Built around the 2016 top-ranked recruiting class, this season’s lineup returns 84 percent of last year’s hit production, 75 percent of home runs and 73 percent RBI.

What we don’t know is how the disappearance of the entire weekend rotation will affect Ole Miss on the mound. Of the three guys slated to start against Wright State, junior Will Ethridge is the only one with DI starting experience, and his is limited to four outings as a freshman. JUCO transfer Zach Phillips is slotted to go on Saturday, with Hoglund following on Sunday.

Bianco will need all three to produce this season, but the development of Hoglund in particular seems key.

Already 6’4 and 210-pounds, Hoglund fanned 105 batters and posted a microscopic 0.27 ERA as a senior in Florida’s competitive high school ranks. He uses that frame to hurl fastballs at 95 miles an hour, and to say he can control it is an understatement: not only did he walk just two of 186 batters last year, he only faced six three-ball counts during his first 50 innings.

“He’s been really dominant in our intrasquad games,” Bianco said during media day. “He’s a guy who possesses a big-time fastball but a good breaking ball and changeup, excellent command. He really can throw the ball on both sides of the plate. For a true freshman, he has a lot of poise.”

(He can hit the ball too, batting .312 with seven homers during his high school career. Look out for him as a two-way player.)

Scout Kiley McDaniel had this to say about Hoglund:

Hoglund was a solid name to monitor from last summer, sitting 88-91 mph with a soft curveball but a clean arm and projectable frame. That projection came quickly, as Hoglund hit 96 mph in a couple early starts and then all the scouting heat came rushing in. I saw him on a colder night working 90-93 mph, a tick or two below where he was the week before and week after I was there. He had consistent above-average life on the heater, and you could easily project his 76-80 mph curveball to above average as well.

His frame is near ideal at about 6-foot-5, 210 pounds, and his arm is a little late to catch up with his delivery but that’s more of a timing issue than a fatal flaw. Hoglund is a two-way threat with a smooth lefty swing and is a good student.

Hoglund is the Rebels’ ace of the future, but it’s easy to see his immediate value this season. Whereas most teams will trot out their third-best starter on Sunday, Bianco will deploy his most talented arm. That’s a tough matchup against a dude throwing in the upper 90s with a knee-buckling curve.

The biggest question is how quickly Hoglund will be able to adjust to major college baseball. Sure, there will be peaks and there will be valleys, but I think the kid is going to be electric in Year 1. If Ole Miss wants to be a serious national title contender come tournament time, he needs to be.

Ole Miss hoops is heating up after knocking off Auburn

Make it three in a row for the Rebels.

Early last week, Ole Miss’ once-strong NCAA Tourney hopes were sliding down the wrong side of the bubble. Losers of four straight, the Rebels seemed to be succumbing to their lack of size and depth. The red-hot start to Kermit Davis’ first season in Oxford had been plunged into an ice bath. Fans were looking to baseball season.

After knocking off Auburn on the road Wednesday night, however, Ole Miss has reeled off three straight Ws to put themselves back into the thick of the tournament conversation. Things were ugly at times against the Tigers—particularly down the stretch as Auburn repeatedly pulled itself within one possession—but the Rebels managed to hold on for a 60-55 win that puts them at 7-4 in the SEC with three and half weeks left in the regular season.

With Terrence Davis saddled with foul trouble and freshman Blake Hinson out with the flu, the Rebels had to lean on defense against Auburn. The Tigers shot less than 33 percent from the floor and hit just five of 20 from behind the arc. Auburn’s two lowest scoring outputs of the season have both come against Ole Miss.

Breein Tyree led the way on the other side with 20 points and Devontae Shuler dropped in 17.

Ole Miss began this win streak by knocking off Texas A&M and Georgia last week—victories that didn’t add much to the resume considering those two team’s combined 4-18 conference record. But knocking off Auburn (on the road, no less) is something different entirely. The Tigers are 5-6 in SEC play but came into Wednesday’s game 20th in the NET rankings, the NCAA’s new version of the RPI. The win should carry Ole Miss inside the top 30 in NET and puts them at 4-7 against Group 1 opponents this season.

ESPN projections released before tip-off had the Rebels in the field of 68. A CBS bracket from earlier in the week put Ole Miss in as a nine-seed, while Sports Illustrated had them on the bubble.

Ole Miss has a good chance to keep the wins coming over the next week and half with home games against Mizzou (No. 88 NET) and Georgia (No. 127) sandwiched around a road trip to South Carolina (No. 100 NET). Then things get tough: Tennessee (No. 4 NET) and Kentucky (No. 6 NET) come to town in consecutive weeks.

Ole Miss’ offense is a lot better under Kermit Davis. Here’s why.

Floor spacing, efficient transition shooting and point distribution has set this team apart.

Ole Miss hoops mounted a much-needed win streak last week, knocking off Texas A&M and Georgia to pull into the top half of the SEC standings and keep their NCAA Tourney hopes alive. The 80-64 W in Athens was particularly fun to watch, as the Rebels poured in nearly 50 percent of their first-half shots to run away.

This team has been far from flawless under first-year coach Kermit Davis, but it’s worth nothing how improved the offense is.

Among 353 Division I schools, Ole Miss’ offense sits at 26th at KenPom with an opponent-adjusted efficiency of 113.5, a mark that, when looking over the past decade of Rebel hoops, is topped only by the Stefan Moody-led tournament team of 2015. In Andy Kennedy’s last season, Ole Miss scored 80 points against just three SEC foes. Davis’ bunch has already done that six times in six weeks of conference play (one was in overtime against Florida, but hey, shut up).

This offense can spread the floor.

Ole Miss is shooting nearly 37 percent from three-point land, the best figure from any Rebel squad since 2008. If you’re thinking that might be because Davis has his guys being more selective with their long balls, think again. Since 1990, only seven Ole Miss teams have made threes at a higher rate, but on average, just 29 percent of their total shots came from deep, compared to this team’s three-point attempt rate of 38 percent. That threat from outside has in turn created some easy scoring opportunities in the paint; while the Rebels sit outside the top 300 in percent of shots inside the paint, they’ve converted over 68 percent of those looks near the rim (17th nationally).

To a certain extent, you could say they’ve lived and died by the three, shooting 39 percent from beyond the arc in wins and less than 33 percent in losses, but they’ve had a handful of victories in which they’ve overcome sub-par shooting. In their four wins where the Rebels made less than 35 percent of their threes, they made up for it with a free throw rate of 40 percent (their season average is 34).

The only complaint about this team’s shooting performance is that they may be a little too balanced in terms of where they take their shots, relying an uncomfortable amount on the mid-range game from time to time. Pulling up here has occasionally proven to be an efficient option against the zone, and at times, that’s the only thing open. But big-picture, the numbers don’t support shooting a ton from mid-range. More than 31 percent of their shots are two-point jumpers (top 50 nationally), and they’ve made less than 40 percent of them. Until the math changes, this is not good.

Davis’ team knows when to push the ball in transition.

There may never be a consensus in college basketball on how (or whether) teams should leverage tempo, but the general trend is an uptick in pace, as schools are averaging about three more possessions per game than they were a decade ago. Ole Miss is somewhere in the middle of the pack with 70 possessions, but the success they’ve had when deciding to speed things up has set them apart.

Just 19 percent of the Rebels’ shots have come in transition (292nd nationally), but they’ve been pretty opportunistic with shifting gears. Developing a habit of pouncing on turnovers and making quick passes across the court has resulted in an effective field goal percentage of 62 (29th) in transition, compared to just 48 percent a year ago. Of those shots, the selection has been much better—38 percent of them have come from three, and they’ve made just over 45 percent of them. You could make the case with little effort that they should probably be looking for more transition buckets.

Multiple guys on this team can step up.

Last season, Ole Miss had a player score 25 or more points on just five separate occasions, with only three coming against Power Five opponents. In Kermit’s debut year, an Ole Miss player has topped that point total eight times, seven of which were against Power Five teams (the other was against Butler). They’ve gone 5-3 in these games, with narrow losses to Florida, Mississippi State and Butler.

Seeing Terence Davis light up the scoreboard is nothing new, as he’s tallied up 10 different 25-point showings over his college career. For Breein Tyree, who’s benefited from playing off the ball more this year, his 31-point explosion to open SEC play at Vanderbilt was his first, and has been followed with three more games of 25-plus.

Freshman forward Blake Hinson provided glimpses of his offensive ceiling in Starkville with 26 points on five threes, and while sophomore Devontae Schuler is known more as a two-way player, his 24-point outing on 9-14 shooting at Cincinnati was the one positive of an ugly loss. For the most part, the big games are coming from two upperclassmen, but the occasional bursts from the younger pieces suggest they’ll be just fine when the current top scorers eventually move on.

8 things you have to forget now that the NCAA says Ole Miss didn’t beat Bama

THIS NEVER HAPPENED

The Rebels have vacated 33 wins over six seasons, including the legendary Bama upset. This should be taken very, very seriously.

Y’know those great memories you have of storming the field and partying on the Square with Katy Perry after Ole Miss beat ‘Bama? No, you probably don’t, because the NCAA says none of that ever happened.

College athletics’ governing body has taken out its big red pen and crossed out 33 Rebel wins over six seasons, the final jab from its years-long investigation into the Ole Miss football program.

The vacated wins stretch from 2010 through 2016, with the notable exception of a 10-win 2015 campaign. Laremy Tunsil’s ineligibility accounts for the 2013 and 2014 seasons, but he was suspended for seven games in 2015 and deemed eligible upon his return that season. So the Sugar Bowl blowout of Oklahoma State stands, though you’ve sadly had to wipe out those glorious wins from Houston Nutt’s last two years.

Via Rebel Grove, here’s the full list of wins that totally didn’t happen.

2010: Tulane, Fresno State, Kentucky, ULL

2011: Southern Illinois, Fresno State

2012: Central Arkansas, UTEP, Auburn, Tulane, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Pittsburgh

2013: Vanderbilt, Southeast Missouri, LSU, Texas, Idaho, Arkansas, Troy

2014: Boise State, Vanderbilt, ULL, Memphis, Alabama, Texas A&M, Mississippi State, Tennessee

2016: Wofford, Georgia, Memphis, Georgia Southern, Texas A&M

Some may attempt to trivialize these very, very serious sanctions. Some, like Ole Miss AD Ross Bjork, may say that “in a way it’s just a piece of paper because you saw those games.”

But we at Red Cup Rebellion recognize the NCAA’s authority to revise history and have accordingly struck all traces of these alleged wins from our memories, beginning with the Rebels’ October 4, 2014 victory over Alabama.

We ask that you, reader, do the same.

Katy Perry did not steal Lee Corso’s headgear and chuck corndogs at the GameDay cameras.

She also did not crowd surf at Funky’s later that night.

Jaylen Walton did not catch an incredible third-and-goal TD to give Ole Miss a lead with less than three minutes to play.

Senquez Golson did not seal the win with an interception in the back of Bama’s end zone.

This mad IRL Bama fan did not get clotheslined by a cop.

Ole Miss fans did not storm the field and tear down the goal posts.

Those goal posts were not subsequently given a tour of Oxford.

Ole Miss did not record a legendary 23-17 win over Alabama because the NCAA says it didn’t.

But we still got the damn goal posts.

bama

Podcast Rebellion: Opening Weekend Preview Pt. 1

Opening day is almost here so let’s try to dissect the starting lineup.

OLE MISS BASEBALL IS BACK!!!!,,,,

Don’t panic. This is not a drill. So let’s dive into the starting lineup shall we? On this episode we discuss who will play where, who will hit where, and why the hell this lineup is picked second in the SEC West behind LSU? Mike Bianco’s club returns six hitters who were over .300 at the plate last season and plenty of options off the bench. So how will they hit in 2019? Can they follow up one of the best offensive campaigns in the history of the program with a better encore?

Listen in, pack the cooler, and dust off those outfield chairs.

IT’S TIME!


If you like New Orleans-inspired cuisine go see Kelly and his crew in Memphis at Second Line or Restaurant Iris for some fantastic food. And if you like gambling and good food, go see to the Magnolia House in Biloxi’s Harrah’s Gulf Coast. Blackjack, slots, Southern cooking—what’s not to like?

And when you’re in Oxford, go see Greg and the good folks at LB’s Meat Market, the inaugural sponsor of this here podcast, to celebrate with the best protein for your Ole Miss grilling needs this weekend. And be sure to tell him RED CUP SENT YA for exclusive deals and promotions!

THE SEASON: Day One

Come along as the Omaha Challenge tests the mind, body and heart of the 2019 Rebs.

Ole Miss Basketball is projected as an 8-seed in NCAA Tournament

The Rebelsharks can tread water all the way to March Madness

Basketball—a wonderful, terrible sport—entered into the minds of the Ole Miss faithful singing its siren song in January.

A 3-0 start to conference play including wins over Top 25 teams like Auburn and Mississippi State had the Rebels and first year coach Kermit Davis being championed as the surprise team of the season.

Reality has an unfortunate way of crashing these kinds of parties however. Ole Miss lost five-of-six games against solid conference competition before buoying itself last week with a perfect week against Texas A&M and Georgia. The Aggies, at times, had the Rebels reeling at home before ultimately losing in the Pavilion, but the Georgia game looked to be one of the Rebels’ most complete games of the season, especially with being on the road.

But, what do the latest numbers show? Mainly, that the Rebels stacked up valuable wins and despite enduring a losing streak, two wins last week and the remaining eight games will offer them considerable opportunity to stay in the NCAA tournament.

Ole Miss’ tourney resume

NET rank: 36

KenPom rank: 41

Strength of schedule: 46

Record: 16-7 (6-4 SEC)

Record vs. Group 1 teams: 3-6

Record vs. Group 2 teams: 4-1

Record vs. Group 3 teams: 3-0

Record vs. Group 4 teams: 6-0

Record at home: 9-3

Record on the road/neutral site: 7-4

Notable wins: No. 20 Auburn, at No. 29 Mississippi St., No. 34 Baylor, No. 62 Arkansas

Notable losses: No. 16 Iowa St., No. 17 LSU, No. 24 Cincinnati, at No. 53 Butler, No. 43 Alabama, No. 41 Florida, No. 29 Mississippi St.

Obviously, the big knock here is that the Rebels haven’t had a top 50 win since the upset on the road in Starkville. But the good news is that all the losses are pretty good to great losses. No one on the tournament committee is going to fault the Rebels for losses at home against Iowa St., LSU or Mississippi St. - all top 30 NET teams.

Additionally, neutral and road losses to Cincy, Butler, Bama and Florida are all top 60 teams, so none of those really sting or tarnish the resume.

This is why playing in a more competitive league has raised the profile for more teams in conference. If this was four or five years ago, Ole Miss is on the outside looking in.

Ole Miss bracket projections

Joe Lunardi (ESPN): 8-seed

Jerry Palm (CBS): 9-seed

USA Today: 8-seed

Right now, the losses are holding up the Rebels in a decent place. There’s no loss grenade that caused a problem on the schedule, but there are some remaining in the schedule Ole Miss has to avoid.

The Rebels have two games against Missouri (NET: 91), one game against South Carolina (NET: 99) and one game against Georgia (NET: 114) that could potentially really hurt. Winning those four would in my opinion cement Ole Miss’ place in the tournament even if the Rebels lost on the road to Arkansas.

Speaking of losses...

A look at Ole Miss’ losses

Let’s look at some of the numbers for the teams Ole Miss has fallen to so far this year.

Iowa State

Record: 18-6 (7-4 Big XII)

NET rank: 16

KenPom rank: 15

Mississippi State

Record: 16-7 (4-6 SEC)

NET rank: 29

KenPom rank: 26

Florida

Record: 12-11 (4-6 SEC)

NET rank: 41

KenPom rank: 38

Alabama

Record: 15-8 (6-4 SEC)

NET rank: 43

KenPom rank: 46

LSU

Record: 19-4 (9-1 SEC)

NET rank: 17

KenPom rank: 21

Cincinnati

Record: 20-4 (9-2 AAC)

NET rank: 24

KenPom rank: 27

Butler

Record: 14-10 (5-6 Big East)

NET rank: 53

KenPom rank: 52

There’s really no bad news to report on this front even with Florida having an 0-2 week their metrics actually improved because they played Auburn and Tennessee.

That is one piece of the equation left for Ole Miss is home games vs. Tennessee and Kentucky who are both currently top 10 NET teams. Playing and losing to them may even cause a one or two spot bump in the rankings especially if the games are somewhat close.

Other than Butler just outside the top 50, Ole Miss’ losses continue to bolster its schedule in the eyes of the tournament selection committee.

Next up for the Rebels is a road tilt with Auburn - a top 20 NET team who has a nearly perfect record at home. ESPN’s basketball power index puts the Tigers as a 86 percent favorite to win while KenPom puts it at a 78 percent chance to win.

So how will the Rebels fare in the final eight games of the season? Can they avoid the upsets remaining and make it to the tournament for the first time in four years? Comment or tweet @RedCupRebellion with your take on the bracket and how Ole Miss is shaping up this season.

Former Rebels are getting a 2nd chance at pro football in Memphis

The new Alliance of American Football is pitching itself as a developmental league for players on the fringes of NFL rosters.

Damore’ea Stringfellow was supposed to be in the NFL.

That was the plan, at least, when he announced two years ago that he was skipping his senior season at Ole Miss to enter the league’s 2017 draft. Big, strong and athletic, he’d emerged from the shadow of Laquon Treadwell to become the Rebels’ top wideout in 2016. Seen as a potential sleeper because of his 6’2 frame and big-play ability, Stringfellow was projected as a fifth- or sixth-round pick.

But Stringfellow also had an arrest record. A former five-star recruit, he’d transferred to Ole Miss after being kicked off the team at Washington for assaulting two people in 2014, one of them a woman. The year he declared for the draft, the NFL had just implemented a rule that prohibited prospects with violent convictions from attending the NFL Combine. Without the exposure, Stringfellow went undrafted. He signed with the Dolphins and bounced around on the practice squads of the Seahawks and Titans but couldn’t stick. Last September, he abruptly announced his retirement from football.

On Sunday, Stringfellow and three other former Rebels will get a second chance at pro football when the Memphis Express—a member of the brand new Alliance of American Football—opens its inaugural season. Linebacker DeMarquis Gates and O-linemen Daronte Bouldin and Christian Morris are also on the team.

The brainchild of former NFL GM Bill Polian and the son of the NBC exec who pioneered the original XFL, the upstart league landed on the consciousness of Ole Miss fans in October when it announced that Hugh Freeze had been hired as the offensive coordinator of the Arizona Hotshots, one of the Alliance’s eight inaugural franchises. Freeze would be hired away as the head coach of Liberty University within two months, which is exactly the way the AAF is supposed to work; it has marketed itself as a second-chance platform for players and coaches to revive their football careers.

The league is littered with whatever-happened-to-that-guy SEC names. Trent Richardson, Blake Sims and Kick Six star Chris Davis will suit up for the Alliance’s Birmingham club; Steve Spurrier is coaching the Orlando outfit; former UGA star Aaron Murray is throwing in Atlanta; LSU’s Zach Mettenberger and Vandy’s Zach Stacy are on the roster in Memphis.

Those regional ties are no coincidence. Rather than randomly distribute players, the Alliance assigned each of its franchises a list of nearby universities from which to assemble rosters. That’s why the Birmingham team (which sports the not-so-subtle nickname the Iron) has a concentration of Bama and Auburn alumni and the Orlando club has four former Gators.

The Memphis team lays claim to Ole Miss, which is why Stringfellow and the others are suiting up for the Express*. Sunday’s game sends them to Birmingham and will be carried by CBS Sports at 3 p.m. CT. The first home game comes a week later against Arizona.

*Memphis-based FedEx isn’t explicitly listed as a sponsor, but c’mon.

Regionalized rosters are just one of the tools the Alliance is using to avoid the fate of so many failed pro leagues that have come before it. Rather than challenge the NFL (a move that doomed the Donald Trump-led USFL in the mid-80s), the AAF has allied itself with the League, positioning itself as a developmental system akin to the NBA’s G League (the NFL Network is even carrying AAF games). The Alliance is also aligning itself with the burgeoning legal gambling industry, banking that its state-of-the-art real-time data can revolutionize sports betting. Microchips in the ball and equipment of each player could allow you to bet on a play-by-play basis: “I’ll put $20 on this being a run to the right side.” (If you need more proof that the Alliance wants to drive viewership through gambling, the league’s April championship game will be played in Las Vegas.)

“It’s a technology play,” Scott Butera, MGM’s president for interactive gaming, told The New York Times. “These specialty leagues will be relevant to sports betting. We think what they are doing is portable to other sports in terms of streaming, watching and making it an entertaining customer experience.”

In short, the Alliance is wagering that it can fill the post-Super Bowl football void for SEC fans and gamblers while providing a blueprint for the integration of major sports leagues, real-time data and legal betting. It’s the perfect experiment for a Mid-South town like Memphis, which is suffering through a post-Gasol disappointment of an NBA season and otherwise faces a sports drought from now ‘til opening day of minor league baseball in April.

For the players on the field, though, the Alliance represents more than an integration of Big Data and sports entertainment. It’s an opportunity for a second chance. The league has gone out of its way to stockpile NFL coaching experience in an attempt to provide legitimate development opportunity: former 49ers head coach Mike Singletary, who helped shape Patrick Willis’ pro career, is the head man in Memphis; Mike Martz, the architect of the Greatest Show on Turf, is leading the San Diego team; Rick Neuheisel is coaching in Arizona.

The Alliance’s ultimate success will rest on those men’s abilities to get players like Stringfellow onto NFL rosters.

“I’d like to see us develop the next Kurt Warner and Adam Vinatieri,” Polian told the Buffalo News. “There are third quarterbacks on practice squads all over the NFL who can get four months’ worth and 10 games’ worth of experience in our league that would be invaluable for them. And they would never miss a beat in the NFL, because our championship game is one week after OTAs begin and our regular-season ends a week before OTAs begin, and that’s by design.”

Over 80 percent of the Alliance’s players have at one time signed an NFL contract. In the ultra-competitive environment of the NFL, development takes a back seat to game preparation. Players on the fringes of rosters have limited opportunities to grow. Trapped on the third string or tucked away on practice squads, they rarely have the opportunity to show what improvement they have made.

For Stringfellow, it’s a potential path back to the dream that prompted him to leave school early.

“I just felt like I was ready for the league,’’ Stringfellow told the Seattle Times about his decision. “I just felt like I was prepared for taking the next step in my life.’’

That next step, once deferred, has new life in Memphis. We’ll see if he—and the upstart league itself—can stick around.

Ole Miss basketball heads to Georgia

The Rebels travel to Athens Saturday with a real chance to steal one on the road.

Ole Miss (15-7 and 5-4 in the SEC) will face Georgia (10-12 and 1-8 in the SEC) in Athens Saturday afternoon in a game the Rebels really have to win to continue building an NCAA March Madness resume. The Rebels can’t really afford to slip up in this game against the #105 team in the NCAA’s new NET rankings.

Georgia’s path to success (maybe its only path, really) lies in the hands of sophomore big Nicolas Claxton. The South Carolina native is averaging 12.6 ppg and 9.3 rpg. Despite being 6’11”, he leads the team in assists (2.1), steals (1.3), and blocks (2.7). He’s the type of big who can be really tough to handle, given how quick he is. Dom and Bruce will have their work cut out for them.

The Rebels, however, should hold a huge advantage at the guard spots, where Georgia hasn’t really been able to sort much out. In fact, the guard who leads the unit in minutes only averages 21.2 minutes per game, and remember, we’re not talking about a team that gets up by a lot every game and pulls its best players. This UGA team has struggled to win games, and uncertainty and a lack of production from outside has fueled that.

Look for Terence Davis and Breein Tyree to go wild in this one.

How to watch

Tip-off: noon CT
TV: SEC Network
Online: WatchESPN

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