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OU men’s basketball: Meet the Sooners’ opponent — Ole Miss

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Lon Kruger

OU coach Lon Kruger draws up a play in the game against Texas Feb. 23.

No. 9 seed Oklahoma (19-13, 7-11 Big 12) will take on No. 8 seed Ole Miss (20-12, 10-8 SEC) in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Friday, March 22 in Columbia, South Carolina.

Here’s what you need to know about the Rebels:

About the coach

In his first season with Ole Miss, head coach Kermit Davis took over a team that was 12-20 last season and projected to finish last in the SEC this year. The Rebels have now flipped their previous record to 20-12, the biggest jump of any team in the Power Five.

Davis led the Rebels to sixth in the SEC with a 10-8 record, and just the programs ninth NCAA Tournament appearance in 109 seasons. The turnaround under Davis was noticed by other coaches in his conference, who named him SEC coach of the year for the 2018-19 season.

About the offense

The Rebels have been relying heavily on junior guard Breein Tyree and senior guard Terence Davis who finished third and tenth in the SEC in scoring respectively.

Tyree averaged 18.2 points per game on 46-percent shooting. Davis put up 15.1 points per game on 44-percent shooting and grabbed 5.8 rebounds per game. Sophomore guard Devontae Shuler is the only other Rebel who averaged in double figures in scoring per game with 10.2.

As a team, the Rebels shot 45-percent from the field this season (tied 81st in the country) and scored 75.4 points per game (tied for 104th in the country). They also averaged just over 8 3-pointers made on 35-percent shooting (123rd and 108th in the country respectively).

About the defense

The defense for Ole Miss finished at No. 200 in the country in opponent field goal percentage this year at 44 percent. They also allowed 70 points per game which ranked No. 162 in the NCAA this season.

In the Big 12-SEC Showdown the Rebels gave up 87 points in a loss to Iowa State. The Cyclones were able to knock down 69-percent of their shots and 53-percent from three.

Three players to watch

Junior guard Breein Tyree: Tyree is the leading scorer for the Rebels and will be expected to carry most of the load for the offense. The New Jersey native has attempted over five 3-pointers per game this season on 38-percent shooting from deep. Against Georgia, Tyree scored 31 points on 11-22 shooting and was 3-of-8 from deep.

Senior guard Terence Davis: Davis is a rebounding guard who can also hurt the Sooners with his scoring ability. The 6-foot-4 senior ranks fourth among guards in the SEC in rebounds per game. Davis also shot 36-percent from the 3-point line this year on 5.1 attempts per game.

Freshman forward Blake Hinson: Hinson has shown the potential to be a very good scorer in just his first season with the Rebels. The forward started in 30 games this season as a freshman and has averaged 8.5 points per game on 40-percent shooting. In Ole Miss’s first meeting with rival Mississippi State, Hinson scored 26 points on 8-16 shooting and 5-11 from the 3-point line in a win. 

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