Kermit Davis era begins at Ole Miss on Saturday

Posted on Nov 9 2018 - 5:50am by Josh Clayton

The 2018-2019 Ole Miss men’s basketball season tips off on Saturday as the Ole Miss Rebels face the Western Michigan Broncos in what will be the first official game of the Kermit Davis era in Oxford. The Rebels will be looking to improve upon their 12-20 record from a year ago, starting with a challenging non-conference slate.

Men’s basketball Coach Kermit Davis watches the team from the sidelines during last week’s exhibition game against against Fayetteville State. Ole Miss won the game 101-52. File photo by Christian Johnson

The team got off to a hot start in a 101-52 exhibition blowout of Fayetteville State last Friday.

Upperclassmen Terence Davis, Bruce Stevens and Dominik Olejniczak showed their improved skill sets while newcomers like KJ Buffen and Blake Hinson raised eyebrows with the potential they flashed during the game.

The Rebels will need to continue their active play as the competition stiffens to give Kermit Davis his first official win as the head coach of Ole Miss basketball.

“You know, there’s still a lot of stuff we can clean up,” Kermit Davis said. “But, the stat line looked right for that kind of game. So good start for us, but, you know, obviously competition will sure pick up.”

Western Michigan returns nine players from a year ago when the Broncos went 17-15 and 9-9 in the MAC conference, finishing fourth in their division. With the loss of standout Thomas Wilder, the Broncos came into this season looking to their upperclassmen for leadership.

Senior forward Seth Dugan answered the call in the Broncos’ season opener as they beat the University of Detroit Mercy. The seven-footer poured in 32 points and 22 rebounds in a record-setting performance. Fellow senior Jake Davis also had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

“It’ll be fun. It’ll be different for me because you know that on Saturday they do count,” Kermit Davis said. “Western Michigan, like a lot of teams that we play, will be a good team, well-coached, so I’m looking forward to it.”

A win over Western Michigan at home can give the Rebels much needed momentum before they travel to Indianapolis to play a Butler team that always seems to find its way into the NCAA tournament.

The schedule doesn’t allow for much of an adjustment period for the Rebels’ eight newcomers before the stiff competition begins against Butler next Friday, but Coach Davis has confidence that his team can show up.

“You hope the scrimmage against Murray State and the exhibition game, the success in that, will help them.” Kermit Davis said. “It was different for me. I mean, I’ve been going to the same parking space and have (had) my same superstitions for 16 straight years. So those are all firsts for those players, firsts for me, but I do think the exhibition games help, so I don’t think it will be a lot different on Saturday.”