Texas (13-7, 4-4) will take a break from conference play to participate in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. The Longhorns will welcome Ole Miss (11-9, 4-4) to Austin. On Wednesday, Texas dispatched Iowa State 73-57, notching a key conference win at home. Mo Bamba had a career night, finishing with 24 points and 12 rebounds. The Longhorns will look to carry that momentum over into Saturday against an Ole Miss team looking for an upset.
The Rebels have struggled most the season. Their non conference schedule included losses to South Dakota State, Middle Tennessee State and Illinois State. SEC play has brought about slight improvement, with Ole Miss notching wins over Georgia, South Carolina, Florida and Alabama. Senior point guard DeAndre Burnett paces the Rebels offense, leading the team in points per game (14.8) and assistants (4.7). Burnett is shooting just over 40% from deep and makes 83% of his free throws. 6’4 forward Terrance Davis serves the 2nd scoring option and has the ability to play down low and out on the perimeter. Davis leads the team in rebounds (6.2) and is a 34% shooter from 3. Down low, the Rebels will lean on Bruce Stevens and Dominik Olejniczak, who stands at 7’0. Head Coach Andy Kennedy has an experienced squad that has shown flashes of good basketball throughout the season. Close losses to Texas A&M and Arkansas have placed them in the middle of the pack of the SEC, but the Rebels have the type of shooting and size down low to cause pose the Longhorns some problems.
In his weekly media availability, Head Coach Shaka Smart emphasized the importance of continuing to get the ball down low to Mo Bamba. “In the games where Mo has gotten more shots, it has been because he has been more aggressive and assertive,” said Smart. In addition to continuing to get good looks for Bamba, Texas hopes for guard Kerwin Roach to continue his hot shooting trend. Roach connected on 4 of 5 three pointers against Iowa State, contributing 22 points and 4 assists. Since Roach returned from a wrist injury, Texas is 2-1 and has seen improved offensive production, minus a 20 minute stretch against West Virginia. On defense, Roach has continued to be on the top perimeter defenders in the Big 12 and will face another big challenge on Saturday against an Ole Miss team that has scoring threats all over the floor.
The game will tip off at 1 PM CST on ESPN2. Follow along here at HornSports for live updates.
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