Ole Miss men's basketball head coach Kermit Davis spoke to reporters Friday about what Saturday's game against Mississippi State means to the Rebels and how they are preparing for it.
The Rebels are ranked second-to-last in the SEC with a 9-8 record and will need to beat the Bulldogs for the second time this season if they want to remain above .500.
"[We've] played some really good Mississippi State teams since I've been here at Ole Miss," Davis said. "Feels like we've won the first game of the series every time, twice in Starkville and once in Oxford the other night. We haven't been able to win the backend of the series."
Davis also gave an injury update in his opening statement on Friday, specifically about Austin Crowley who is dealing with an ankle injury.
"Obviously Jarkel [Joiner] and Robert [Allen] are still out," Davis said. "[Austin Crowley] hasn't practiced with us since [his injury]. He's going to try and go today. So, I think he's just going to be a game-time decision with his ankle."
Ole Miss fell to Missouri at home earlier this week, but Davis has been pleased with his team's response in practice since Tuesday.
"Really good," Davis said. "We had a great day lifting. It was one of our best practices we've ever had yesterday afternoon. Very, very competitive.
"I think our team has responded really well," Davis continued. "We better because we're going to play a really good Mississippi State team."
Davis also talked about the rivalry between Ole Miss and Mississippi State, a rivalry that he has been a part of for decades, including during his playing days for the Bulldogs.
"I've been on both sides of it," Davis said. "It's one of the greatest rivalries in the country. After that game when Breein [Tyree] made a last-second shot, [Clark Kellog] said that was one of the greatest atmospheres of college basketball that he had seen between two teams."
The 9-8 Ole Miss Rebels will take on the 12-5 Mississippi State Bulldogs Saturday, Jan. 22, at 3:30 p.m. CT in Starkville, Miss. The game will be televised on ESPNU.
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