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Game #20: Arkansas @ Ole Miss

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NCAA Basketball: South Carolina at Arkansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Arkansas @ Ole Miss Preview

Opponent: Ole Miss Rebels
Date: Wednesday, January 26, 2022
Time: 6:00PM CDT
Place: The Sandy and John Black Pavilion at Ole Miss
TV/Streaming: SEC Network
All-Time Series: Arkansas leads 50-33
All-Time Series in Oxford: Ole Miss leads 20-9

The Rebels – 10-9 (2-5)

It’s been a frustrating year for Ole Miss. The ups and downs have been about the only thing consistent with this team. The Rebels dropped some non-conference games to formidable opponents, but picked up wins over Memphis and Dayton. The season took a downward spiral in the final game of the non-conference play. Ole miss lose to Samford at home. Then would start SEC play 1-5.

Kermit Davis has had to navigate injuries as highly touted freshman PG DaeShun Ruffin missed several games early and now they are without leading scorer Jarkel Joiner.

Ruffin and sophomore Matthew Murrell(who was offered by Arkansas) have really stepped up their game of late to fill Joiner’s absence.

Florida and Ole Miss played in Oxford on Monday to make up a game missed due to COVID protocols. This will be the Rebels’ 3rd game in 5 days. From Arkansas’ perspective, you are happy Ole Miss won that game on Monday. The saying goes: a hungry dog runs faster. Ole Miss fed the dog on Monday night. I would be more worried for the Razorbacks if they had lost.

Ole Miss shoots and defends the 3 well. In fact, they are shooting at an even higher clip in SEC Play at 37.4%.

Where Ole Miss really struggles in rebounding the basketball. Arkansas needs to dominate the boards tonight.

The Razorbacks – 14-5 (4-3)

The Hogs are rolling! 4 straight after an abysmal start to SEC play. Sure they have beaten some lower competition and a LSU team without their point guard. Given the state of the team, you take wins any way you can get them.

Arkansas’ resumé would tell you they have work to do. Given the schedule in February, the harsh truth is that Arkansas has to win this game. You cannot waste opportunities against teams in the bottom half of the league at this point.

The key to this winning streak has been much better defense and rebounding. That will be recipe for success for this team all year. Musselman has found his lineup and rotations. I see him sticking to these the rest of the way.

What’s been interesting about how this season has played out is that Arkansas’ best lineups are when they play big. We all know Musselman loves small ball. It took times to find this out, but credit to him for committing to something he usually doesn’t like.

Arkansas needs Jaylin Williams and J.D. Notae on the floor as much as possible. They are much, much better team when they are out there. So those 2 cannot get into foul trouble.

I want to see a downhill Notae. Getting to the basket and creating for others. He is a special player when he plays that way.

If Arkansas will defend the 3 and get to the free throw line, they’ll win this game.

Random stat: Ole Miss is the one SEC team that has not beaten Eric Musselman since his arrival at Arkansas.

Prediction: Arkansas 74, Ole Miss 67