It doesn’t seem possible that the University of Arkansas, which played in the NCAA Tournament last season, could lose 84-67 to the team that finished in last place last season.
That said, Ole Miss clearly was the better team Saturday in Oxford, Miss.
The game plan was two-fold on defense: don’t let Daniel Gafford beat you, and the All-SEC power forward only had two insignificant field goals; and guard the perimeter, which worked well enough.
Offensively, the Rebels pounded the paint and outscored the Razorbacks there 44-28.
Make no mistake, new Rebels Coach Kermit Davis inherited some players. The cupboard wasn’t bare like when Mike Anderson came to Arkansas eight years ago.
For whatever reason, last year’s Ole Miss team didn’t mesh with head coach Andy Kennedy, and he left the team late in the season.
Davis, a little old school and a little new school, got the Rebels to buy in to defense and high-percentage shots for the post players.
Arkansas is separating itself slowly but surely from another appearance in the NCAA Tournament, but the Hogs can get back on a winning track Wednesday when they host Missouri at 8 p.m.
The Hogs need more discipline on shot selection. They were 6 of 23 on threes while Gafford got just 6 shots. They need to be more consistent on defense, especially when switching, and they need to find that chemistry they had earlier in the season.
There’s 14 games to be played plus the SEC Tournament. Now’s the time to start peaking.