The Ole Miss Rebels will be trying to remain undefeated on their abbreviated season when they entertain the Central Arkansas Bears on Monday. Ole Miss has played only twice due to coronavirus issues, beating Jackson State by 35 points and UNC-Wilmington by 20. We probably won’t know what we really have on our hands with the Rebels until they face Dayton this coming weekend, but expectations are not particularly high. They were picked to finish ninth in the SEC in the conference preseason poll. Central Arkansas is a Southland Conference representative that is still winless in 2020-21 at 0-4. The Bears lost to Memphis by a respectable 17 points by but fell to Arkansas by 25 on Saturday. However, in the latter contest they led for most of the first half and were within six points with less than 10 minutes remaining in the game before wearing down. If the underdogs can keep the pace of this game slow, they may be able to keep it within 20. Rylan Bergersen is averaging 16.3 points per game for Central Arkansas on 50 percent shooting from the floor and 43.8 percent marksmanship from three-point
Date: Monday, Dec. 14, 2020
Time: 7 p.m. CT
Location: Oxford, Miss.
Arena: The Pavilion at Ole Miss (9,500)
ange. The Bears are 7-3-1 ATS in their last 11 against opponents with winning records. Take Central Arkansas and the points.
After what happened against Arkansas, I expect the Bears to play at a slow pace in hopes of having something left down the stretch against a physically and athletically superior opponent. Ole Miss’ ability to force turnovers is another reason for
Central Arkansas to slow things down. The Rebels have forced 45 turnovers through two games while giving up a mere 51.5 points per game. They have also let opponents shoot a total of just 31 free-throws. The question is if the visitors can keep Ole Miss in check. They’ll have to if they want to cover. The under is 3-0-1 in the Rebels’ last four overall. Look for this one to stay under the total.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the start of the college basketball season was pushed back to November 25. Then, the virus hit the Rebels, forcing the cancellation of the Justin Reed Ole Miss Classic (Nov. 25-27) as well as a matchup against Memphis (Dec. 5). The program paused team activities until December 7. When the Rebels tipped off their season Thursday night (Dec. 10), Ole Miss was the final Power 5 team (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC) to start its season. It’s been 72 years since the Rebels started a basketball this season this late, defeating Mississippi College to start the 1948-49 campaign (Dec. 11, 1948).
AND HERE. WE. GO.
Ole Miss wasted no time trying to get in non-conference games, scheduling four games in a span of seven days (Dec. 10-16). Playing every other day, it will be the first time the Rebels have played four games over a one-week span since Nov. 18-24, 2016. That week featured the Rebels advancing to the finals of the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands before returning home to beat Montana on Thanksgiving.
SCOUTING CENTRAL ARKANSAS
Enters the matchup with a 0-4 record following a 100-75 loss to Arkansas (Dec. 12)
Starting the season with six straight road games
Lead the Southland Conference in free throw percentage (73.5)
Preseason All-SLC honorees Rylan Bergerson (16.3 ppg) and Deandre Jones (13.5 ppg) lead the team in scoring.
Jones, UCA’s all-time assists leader (472), is averaging 5.0 assists per game.
Coached by Ole Miss alum Anthony Boone, who took over as interim head coach during last season; the interim tag was removed in March
Ole Miss leads the all-time series with Central Arkansas 3-0, winning all three games in Oxford. The two teams first met in the 1980-81 season opener (Nov. 29, 1980) with the Rebels cruising to an 82-50 victory. Later on that season, Ole
Miss won the SEC Tournament to secure its first ever trip to the NCAA Tournament. Two years later, the Rebels protected their home court again 67-60 (Dec. 18, 1982). It took 24 years before the Rebels and Bears met again. The two southern teams headed north to Connecticut for the Hispanic College Fund Classic (Nov. 18, 2006), and Ole Miss won 75-61.
LAST TIME WE MET
Clarence Sanders scored 17 points, and Bam Doyne had 15 to lead Ole Miss to a 75-61 victory over Central Arkansas in the Hispanic College Fund Classic at the Hartford Civic Center (Nov. 18, 2006). The Rebels raced out on a 20-8 run to start the second half, taking a 53-40 lead after Sanders made one of two free throws with 12:46 seconds left. Central Arkansas chipped away closing the gap to 55-53, when Durrell Nevels scored off an inside feed from Frederick Campbell with 6:27 left. But that’s as close as Central Arkansas would get. Eniel Polynice made a three-pointer, then followed with a steal and a basket to give Ole Miss a 60-53 lead with less than six minutes left. Campbell scored 15 points and
Nevels had 12 to lead Central Arkansas.