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FREE TICKETS: Aggies Host Ole Miss Looking to Continue Early SEC Hot Streak

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After knocking off Arkansas on Saturday, the Aggies are looking for a 3-0 start in the SEC when they host a dangerous yet inconsistent Rebels team on Tuesday night.

NCAA Basketball: Arkansas at Texas A&M Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: Buzz Williams and his lovely wife have purchase 600 tickets for tonight’s game. They are available for pickup at the north entrance of Reed Arena. No excuses! Get to Reed!

The almost 8,000 fans who welcomed the Aggies home for SEC play got to see an exciting game and revel in a victory as Texas A&M knocked off Arkansas 86-81. It was A&M’s most intense game of the season, more physical than the early season showdown against Notre Dame while also surpassing all of the non-conference blowouts in pace. While Quenton Jackson led the team in scoring with 16, it was the balanced scoring attack and great shooting that propelled the Aggies to victory. A red-hot JD Notae kept Arkansas in striking distance with his 31 points on 11-23 shooting, but the Ags hit critical buckets down the stretch that kept Hogs at bay.

With a 2-0 record in conference play and a 13-2 overall, the Aggies turn their attention to the Ole Miss Rebels, who come to Reed Arena for a 7:30 PM tip on Tuesday night. For those who are local, this is the last men’s game in the Holiday Hoops promotion, so there are good discounts to be had. For those not in the area, the game will be broadcast on SEC Network.

The Ags are currently favored by 4.5 points* according to our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook. Kenpom.com gives A&M a 68% win probability with a projected score of 69-64.

*Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.

The Rebels are currently 9-5 overall and 1-1 in the SEC. Among the Rebels’ victories are key wins against Memphis (67-63), Dayton (76-68), and Mississippi State (82-72), with each of those coming at home. Four of the Ole Miss losses have come at a neutral site (Marquette, Boise State, Western Kentucky) or on the road (Tennessee). The only home loss for the Rebels came in their non-conference finale against Samford. Based on the results, Ole Miss may seem like a mediocre team, but that doesn’t make them any less dangerous. They took #22 Tennessee to overtime in a Knoxville and knocked off a solid Mississippi State by 10. The losses to Samford and Western Kentucky show that this group can be inconsistent, but they clearly have no trouble getting up for a quality opponent.

Kermit Davis is in his fourth season as the head coach of Ole Miss, where he has amassed a 60-47 record. Davis has A&M ties as well; he took over for Shelby Metcalf as head coach of the Aggies for the 1990-1991 season. Davis was relieved of his duties and replaced by Tony Barone after going 8-21 that year.

The Rebels leading scorer is senior guard Jarkel Joiner, a 6’ 1” Cal State Bakersfield transfer who averages 13.6 points in 31.2 minutes per game. Joiner was held out of Saturday’s game against Mississippi State, but Ole Miss is hopeful that he will be able to play against the Ags. Daeshun Ruffin is a 5’ 9” freshman point guard who averages 12 points per game. Ruffin has been limited to 6 games as he missed a significant amount of time at the beginning of the season with a hand injury, but he has quickly rounded into form as good point guard option behind Ruffin. Sophomore guard Matthew Murrell and junior Duke transfer Jaemyn Brakefield are the Rebels’ most accurate three point threats, each averaging over 40% from beyond the arc with more than 40 attempts each. The primary interior presence for Ole Miss is 7’ 0” grad transfer Nysier Brooks, who joined the team after playing previously at Miami and Cincinnati. Brooks averages 9.2 points and 8.5 boards per contest and leads the team with 17 blocks on the year.

At a team level, A&M statistically has the more efficient offense, but the Rebels have the slight edge in defensive efficiency. While the Aggies have better numbers in blocks, steals, and turnovers created, A&M’s subpar defensive rebounding gives Ole Miss the edge. With the Rebels’ propensity for playing to the level of their competition, I look for this one to be another dog fight that comes down to the wire.