The Ole Miss men’s basketball team has reached the top 25 for the first time since 2019.
Coming in at No. 25 in the latest USA Today Coaches Poll, first-year head coach Chris Beard’s crew has started the season with a perfect 9-0 record featuring wins against NC State, Memphis, and most recently, a 70-68 victory over Central Florida on Sunday.
“We’re just trying to trend in the right direction. Certainly, to win these nine games to start the season is a credit to our guys,” Beard said following the UCF game.
“I do think we’re a team that’s gonna have to demand some respect. We’ve won a lot of games … There’s not a lot of narrative on our team right now. I think our guys are using that. We appear to be a team that has a little bit of a chip on our shoulder right now. That’s good.”
— Ole Miss Men’s Basketball (@OleMissMBB) December 11, 2023
Last season, the Rebels only won 10 total games, and the lack of victories ultimately led to the program parting ways with former head coach Kermit Davis.
With a change in leadership and the addition of six newcomers from the transfer portal to join veterans Matthew Murrell, Jaemyn Brakefield, and TJ Caldwell, Ole Miss has had a red hot start to the 2023-2024 season that has included six victories by three or fewer points.
Leading the way for the Rebels is Auburn transfer Allen Flanigan, who is averaging 18 points and 6.9 rebounds. Saint Peter’s transfer Jaylen “Juju” Murray, who has taken the role of point guard, is averaging 4.3 assists per game. Seven-foot-five center and Western Kentucky transfer Jamarion Sharp’s 2.3 blocks per game is the most on the team.
Ole Miss, though only one of seven remaining unbeaten teams in the nation, has not yet cracked the Associated Press Top 25 but did receive 86 votes in the most recent rankings.
Beard’s squad will have an opportunity to amass as many wins as the team did one season prior and earn a spot in the AP rankings on Saturday in a road match against California in San Antonio, Texas. That game will tip off at 6:30 p.m. central and will be broadcast on the SEC Network as well as participating SuperTalk Mississippi stations.
The full USA Today Coaches poll can be viewed below (Not 25 teams here?):
- North Carolina
- Florida Atlantic
- Colorado State
- James Madison
- Ole Miss