Kermit Davis Previews Alabama vs. Ole Miss
Following a heartbreaking 71-68 loss at Tennessee, the Alabama Crimson Tide returns to the hardwood Tuesday for an 8 PM tip-off against the Ole Miss Rebels.
Ole Miss comes into Tuscaloosa with a 14-3 overall record including a 3-1 mark in Southeastern Conference play. In their last outing, the Rebels handled Arkansas 84-67 in Oxford, Mississippi.
Prior to Tuesday night's game, Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis stepped Inside the Locker Room to preview his team's trip to Tuscaloosa.
While the Rebels have been the surprise of the SEC so far in Davis' first season in Oxford, the Rebels were 10-7 overall and 3-2 in conference play at this point last year. In discussing establishing the culture he wants to see in the program, Davis listed three key areas that have led the team to their hot start this season.
"I think our guys have started to buy in more about defending, the ball's moving a little bit better and we brought in two or three players that have helped us." Davis said.
In his scouring report of Alabama, Davis detailed his impressions of various aspects of the Crimson Tide including their win over Kentucky, their close call at Tennessee and the play of Kira Lewis, John Petty and Donta Hall. In his mind, the Ole Miss coach believes that Alabama has the look of an NCAA Tournament team and could have a role in the SEC regular season race.
"It looks like an NCAA Tournament team on tape, and they'll be a huge factor in this race down the stretch." Davis said.
Heading into Tuesday's game, ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi had six teams from the SEC in the NCAA Tournament including Ole Miss as a seven-seed while Alabama is one of his first four teams out of the tournament.
Tuesday marks a big opportunity for both teams to get a quality win toward their NCAA Tournament resume as Ole Miss is No. 25 and Alabama No. 50 in the NCAA's new NET rankings. In Davis' view, quality non-conference scheduling and early season performance could go a long way in helping Ole Miss, Alabama and the rest of the teams in the conference make their way to the promised land that is the NCAA Tournament.
"The biggest thing for us as a league is doing well in November and December and scheduling the right way." Davis said. "You just got to go out and schedule because now it seems to me that you're not punished so much for your bad losses, but you're rewarded for who you beat. I think that's the biggest thing is going out and schedule well in trying to get some of those priority wins early"
Catch Inside the Locker Room every weekday from 7-9 AM on Tide 102.9/100.9 and the Tide 102.9 app.